Networking is common practice – particularly across the creative industries – so becoming adept in this practice early in your career can help your professional development.
Speaking to industry professionals will allow you to:
- gather information about career areas
- learn about the opportunities that may exist in the field or organisation
- develop your contact with key people
- build your confidence and improve your interview skills by talking informally to a range of professionals
- discover the hidden job market. The indirect route often turns out to be the best strategy.
Face-to-face discussion is the best place to start a networking relationship. A direct approach guarantees a response while an email or letter may not receive a reply.
Good networkers are chameleons. It's important to think about how you can mix with and address a wide range of people effectively. And first impressions are crucial. Be comfortable, but look appropriate for the setting and of course make sure you're polite, enthusiastic and friendly.
We also recommend that you read industry journals – it will show you know what you're talking about.
Use your current contacts
Firstly, consider your personal contacts – who do you know that works in, or has contacts in, the industry? We advise that you ask:
- academic staff
- relatives, family, friends – think about your extended network (you may not know the person – they could be a friend of a friend)
- colleagues inside and outside the university
- previous work experience contacts.
Consider your School work experience too – do you still have contacts you could use?
Find new sources
To identify sources of new contacts, we advise that you talk to guest speakers on campus or attend employer events such as careers fairs and employer skill sessions, or industry conferences. You can also identify contacts through social media, which may prove useful in finding a hidden job.
You can also find sources by contacting professional bodies – our careers areas includes links to many of these and some may offer networking events you can attend.
If you're a graduate of Cardiff University, investigate mentoring schemes which might enable you to establish contact with a professional in your intended field. Use the LinkedIn alumni tool to help you identify potential contacts.
If you'd like more advice on networking, please contact us:
Careers and Employability
- Telephone:+44 (0)29 2087 4844