Networking is key if you’re going to land that first graduate level job when you get out of university. You’ve got the letters after your name, but so often it can be who you know rather than what you know that wins you that first full-time position.
If you’re fresh out of university and looking to open a few doors into the jobs market, here are our top networking tips for graduates:
- Get yourself seen – You won’t have to look far to find the careers fairs, alumni networking events and other social-professional gatherings which recruiters like to haunt. Get out there and attend as many as you can. And always arrive early, it gives you a chance to make introductions before the competition and the noise get too fierce.
- Use social media – But use it the right way, by which we mean no ill-advised photos of Friday night or misjudged Tweets. A lot of networking goes on online. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated or join a professional network for the industry you’re interested in. Stay in touch with useful contacts and reach out to new people, you never know when they might tip you off about an upcoming vacancy.
- Get some business cards – Have professional cards made up and carry a few with you. You never know when you might bump into someone you will want to keep in touch with.
- Call in some favours – Stay on good terms with your former tutors, the university careers staff, past managers – everyone. Sometimes parents have their uses too, and they might have friends or friends of friends who can open doors or put in a good word.
- Know your value to an employer – Knowing what skills you have and how much worth employers place on them can be very useful. Check out the ValueMyCV tool to find out your current value to them. Not only will you know which ones to schmooze about, but it’ll also give you an indication of where there’s room for improvement.
- Be a listener as well as a talker – Make use of the grapevine. If you’re attending a networking event or contacting people online, ask questions. It’s the quickest way of finding out which companies are hiring and what it’s like to work for them.
Getting hold of the first rung on the career ladder is never easy, so if it takes a little while, don’t despair. Keep talking to people and keep getting yourself out there and visible – a little networking really can go a long way.