A strong degree will always stand you in good stead when it comes to building a career, but this in itself is unlikely to secure you the opportunities you desire. You need other important attributes by the time you qualify and embark on the hunt for employment, such as experience, the ability to impress in an interview, and contacts.
The best way to secure the latter, as well as the former, is through networking. Although it’s not all about who you know, the right people will undoubtedly be able to open doors for you, so it’s best to make their acquaintance whilst you’re still a student.
That’s why we recommend attending some events, and to help you get the most out of them, we’ve compiled this list of three top tips for you to try…
1. Do your research
Once you make the decision to network, we suggest choosing your events with care. They must be able to benefit you in some way, so do plenty of research before making your selections. If you can, find out who is attending, and if it’s a company you’re interested in, be sure to make a note of their recruitment processes, key dates, and what they look for in candidates. Learn what you can about their business too to give you plenty to talk about. The aim of the game should be to make yourself appear as an ideal employment prospect, in the hopes that they’ll want to get to know you further.
2. Ask questions
It sounds obvious, but lots of students go to networking events only to find themselves tongue-tied. This is of no use to you, so see the occasion as the opportunity it is and use it as a chance to ask all of your burning questions. Talk to people in the business, asking them about their role, career progression, and specialisms. Ask them the things you actually want to know, rather than being afraid that you’ll come across as lacking in knowledge; you’re more likely to make yourself appear passionate and willing to learn – both big plus points for any potential employer.
3. Follow up
Networking events are a great opportunity, but only if you make the effort to follow them up. The professionals who attend will meet dozens of people in their time there, many of them as engaging as you, so to set yourself apart, get in touch with them afterwards. You could try sending a thank you email or card or connecting with them on LinkedIn. You might wish to accompany this with a link to a research article or useful resource that’s relevant to something you talked about, just to jog their memory a little.
To learn more about the topics covered in this article, why not get in touch with our team today? Based at Mont Rose College in Ilford, we’re always happy to help in any way we can.