We have all heard the phrase 'it is not what you know but who you know'.  In terms of job hunting this is only partially true.  To secure your dream job it is vital that you have the right qualifications and skills, and you are able to present yourself in a professional manner; but sometimes 'getting your foot in the door' can bring you into contact with new people and new opportunities.

Every day you make connections to other people: each time you meet somebody new, call your parents, or even use Facebook, you are unwittingly expanding or strengthening your network.

Networking is not just about asking someone for a job!  You should use networking opportunities to build your contacts, learn from others experiences and also use it as a means of asking for advice, guidance or support about a particular career, job role or business idea.

What are the benefits of networking?

  • Networking can help you to build your contacts and provide a support network as you explore and pursue your career goals and aspirations.

  • A single contact can often lead to opportunities for personal and professional growth, from job leads to possible friendships.

  • Networking allows you to explore new career options and can alert you to changes within your chosen career sector.

Networking Opportunities

There are two types of networking opportunities that can be considered: real relationships and online networks.  Both can have their benefits when it comes to networking.

Real Relationships: think about who your personal contacts are:

  • The people that you have met through your time at University such as your tutors, your fellow students on your course or through relevant committees and groups.
  • Your previous employers

  • Your friends and family

  • Your contacts made through volunteering or work placements

  • Your Alumni networks: check to see what events are organised by your Alumni department.

Online Networks: many online networks cost nothing for you to join, but in order to build a strong online presence, it can take a huge amount of time, effort and commitment.  Online networking can allow a student to build relationships, tap into new resources, develop skills and potentially brand themselves within a career sector or profession.  Some of the benefits include:

  • Increases and diversifies your network

  • Makes you and your information more accessible to a wide range of people

  • Can break geographical and time boundaries

  • Involves little or no cost

  • Allows you to gather immdeiate feedback

  • Connects you to people with similar interests and goals

  • Helps you to create a positive self-image

Staying Safe: take care when posting information on any of the social networking sites.  Review your information regularly.  Do not post private information, or post anything that might be embarrassing, particularly if you want to share your information with employers.  People have been denied work or have lost their jobs, because of information that has been found on social networking sites.  Take time to monitor your privacy settings, to control who has access to your personal information.

Networking Information and Resources