Why is networking beneficial?
- Gain Careers Insight – by networking you can find out more about how an organisation or industry works and this can help you decide if you would like to pursue your career ideas. Networking provides an opportunity to ask questions directly to an individual based within an organisation, which can allow you the chance to glean information not provided on websites.
- It allows you the chance to target your job applications – by networking you can find out why people enjoy working for a particular organisation and you can find out if the employer is offering what you’re looking for.
- You can find out about jobs – there’s a hidden job market out there and by networking you have the opportunity to tap into this. You can find out about jobs before they are advertised and whilst in university you might generate a work experience opportunity.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Networking
- Attend networking events organised by Swansea Employability Academy, your college and your department. Sometimes informal events give you the confidence to start honing your skills.
- If you are going to a networking event, such as a Careers Fair, research the event beforehand. Find out the employers / organisations in attendance and research the ones you feel are most applicable to you. By finding out about the organisation, what they do, variety of opportunities you have a good starting point to talk to employers.
- Prepare your ‘elevator pitch’ in advance, think about the main points you would like to convey to an individual about yourself. These could be your name, what you are studying, where you are studying and your eventual career goals. This can be enough to help the conversation start up.
- At a networking event approach a person from the front so that they can see you.
- Work the room, don’t just focus on one individual, make the effort to liaise with as many people as possible.
- Forget to introduce yourself. When building your network, ensure that you introduce yourself properly.
- Stalk people on social media before the event. Finding out about the organisation and an individual’s role in an organisation is fine. There is a fine line between researching an individual and an organisation be appearing well informed and keen, or appearing odd.
- Forget to follow up. If you have been offered the chance to build on a connection at a networking event, ensure that you follow this up.
- What does your role involve?
- How long have worked for the organisation?
- How did you secure your role in the organisation?
- Does your organisation participate in many events like this?
- What advice would you give someone who is about to graduate?
- As an employer what are your 3 things you look for in a graduate?
- What do you expect from a colleague in the first 3 months of employment?
- If you had to start your career again, what would you do differently?
- What is a typical day in your role and organisation?
Networking hints and tips
- You don’t know, what you don’t know
- A way in can come from an unlikely source
- Ask open ended questions
- Closed questions can the kill the conversation
- Avoid questions that end in ‘yes’ or ‘no’
- Be interested
- Make small talk
- Find out what people do
- Talk to different people
- Avoid hanging around the refreshment table
Networking in Action!
The sister of one of your friends has contacted you, wanting to know about your experience at Swansea University. She has asked if you mind spending 20 minutes telling her about your experience.
Most students would be happy to do this because:
- She is your friend’s sister – an established contact.
- You have all the information you need as she is asking you about your experience in Swansea University.
- You are not being asked to find her a place in Swansea University.
- 20 minutes is not long out of your day.
- It is quite enjoyable talking about your own experience.