So you’ve worn the cap and gown, held the degree in your hand, and entered the world as a graduate. The next step is to find a job, and with your degree and experience under your belt, you’re capable of getting any job you put your mind to. But it’s not just your degree that will help you bag that postgraduate role. Networking is one of the most powerful tools to use when finding a job. Not only does it allow you to connect with employers, but it can get your name out, allow you to discover new roles, and advance your career. You may be wondering how and where to network, but it can be done anywhere – read our tips!
As a graduate, LinkedIn is the best tool for networking. Not only does it allow you to connect with your peers and lecturers, but you can connect with industry professionals. Utilise this platform by uploading your CV, allowing employers to assess and see if you are the right candidate for a role they are recruiting for. Complete your whole profile, from your ‘About’ section to your ‘Interests’. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially an online CV, so be sure to complete the sections to show employers your experience, skills, and interests to show them who you are. Connect with others within the industry to not only meet them, but to be noticed as a professional. Participate in conversations, post updates, be active and engaged on the platform to meet other professionals within the industry. Best part of LinkedIn? You can network literally from anywhere, whether it be at university or home!
An obvious and easy way to network is to attend industry events. Conferences, conventions, and meetups all provide fantastic opportunities to speak with professionals and learn more about the industry. Make the most of these events by speaking to others, discussing not only the industry but their role as well. Ask them how they got where they are now, what their previous experience is, and learn from them. They can give you invaluable advice which can help you progress within your career, offer you information about job roles, or even give you a job opportunity! The events don’t need to be in person – webinars or online workshops provide brilliant opportunities to meet others. Just like LinkedIn, due the nature of these being online, it means it can be done anywhere.
This may sound like something you do already, but network with your peers at university. Throughout your academic career, you will meet many people who will go on to work in different industries. In the future, you may come across these individuals and even collaborate them, so be sure to network throughout university to build up your contacts. Future you will thank you for it! By networking with peers, you can gain fresh perspectives on ideas and projects, as well as hearing about jobs or opportunities.
University is highly beneficial in finding a job as it equips you with a degree, opening a lot of opportunities. However it isn’t just the degree which can help you in finding a job – university offers you more than just the qualification. Lecturers are highly experienced in their field, with years of experience under their belt. Network with your lecturers, as they can give you advice and let you know of any opportunities. Universities will organise meetups and events, often for free, so make the most of them and attend them! After graduation these events are available however you may have to pay to attend. As well as events, make the most of university career centres. This can be done by attending their workshops, speaking to advisors, and using the resources available. These can be advantageous as they can help you write your CV and support you whilst job hunting.
If your university course has a placement year option, it’s worth doing one. Placements or internships can provide you with first-hand experience of working in the industry you want a career in. Not only do they develop your skills and give you a sense of what its like, but you can network with colleagues. Completing an internship or placement can lead to a job offer after you graduate, so make the most of these opportunities!
Remember that although networking can be used to progress in your career, it’s important to maintain relationships. You can meet an industry professional at an event and connect on LinkedIn, but this doesn’t mean you’re going to be given a job offer or advice. You need work on the relationship, be respectful, and be genuine - don’t just use the person. Making friends is a huge part of networking. Don’t go in focussing on working your way up the career ladder!