As a recent graduate or an intern, you’re faced with the most important (and exciting!) marketing campaign you’ll ever have – yourself. Catching the eye of potential employers is no easy task, particularly when there are thousands of other graduates showing off their feathers too. This is where networking will get you places that a bulletproof CV and shiny shoes will only get you so far.
1. Be a professional.
In this increasingly competitive world we live in, rejection and hearing the word ‘no’ is inevitable. When this happens: try to resist the urge to reach for the nearest tub of ice cream and watch Disney movies for the rest of the day. A journalist friend of mine once gave me one of the greatest pieces of advice that I still go by today. Be a professional. This doesn’t mean suiting up every time you go to the nearest corner store and it definitely doesn’t mean trading your usual pint of lager to a sleek bourbon on the rocks. Retaining professionalism means going that extra mile to ensure you are polite, friendly and approachable; even to those people that are lacking in these areas themselves! By maintaining this approach, you will ensure ‘no bridges are burnt’. This means every door you open will stay open, and you will be sure to make a lasting impression on people which can lead to further opportunities.
2. Extending your knowledge.
Networking allows you to meet other people that have an abundance of experience and knowledge! Simply asking and paying an interest in people you meet can result in learning valuable information and tips. And what’s more, it’s free! People are sources of knowledge. Learn from their experience and take on board other peoples’ advice.
3. Networking just got easier.
Luckily for you, you’re in ‘the golden era’ for networking. Social networking has allowed us to establish new contacts and branch out our networks more easily than ever. Use this to your advantage! Make it known on your website or social networking sites that you are looking for an internship or a job. Search online for opportunities. Create an online image for yourself. You never know, you may just get a friend request from someone who has heard tales of your ‘professionalism’!
4. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours…
Networking is a two-way process. Therefore you can’t expect to get something out of it without giving something first. If you ever meet someone in your field that is in a similar position to you – help! Think of yourself as a product. And like any great product, when you hear great reviews it sparks curiosity and interest. By helping people to network and grab their own opportunities, you’ll be more likely to be the first name they recommend to other people too. Not only does helping other people create friends in the area you’re working into, it gives potential employers and contacts a good impression of you before you’ve even met!