Sunday, August 11, 2019

How to Network successfully to secure Graduate Jobs

Hey guys,

Fresh out of uni, University may have put you through the whole wash cycle. I felt all possible emotions and at the end of it I was more than happy to be done and leaving University. It is not easy so well done to you! Give yourself a break but don't rest too long! Because you're done getting your qualifications but don't forget the main reason you pushed yourself to get through it. Your main aim - a career.

Networking is the only thing that has proven itself to work for me the most efficiently in my own job hunting process and helped me to secure a job. That is the fastest way and also a skill that will help you progress throughout your career. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have family members, friends with influential contacts but you can get yourself in a position to be among those people.

Top Networking Tips

1. Search and sign up to all relevant graduate fairs
The biggest graduate fair in London, is the Olympia graduate fair. They have one early summer and one early winter. They put up the dates months before it, so don't leave it till late and sign up early. You snooze you loose!

There's many more smaller graduate fairs specific to your field of interest. These ones are really good to be honest because if they're smaller, you have much more time to speak to the employees and recruiters. 
The best way to find these is through google. Do some intense googling and do it straightaway. Grad fairs have to be planned in months in advance. 

2. Stay professional
Always stay professional when talking to them. Even if it's a grad fair, make sure you wear professional clothing and don't turn up like it's University. I have seen many students arrive in jeans and trainers, just because many do it doesn't mean it's the way forward. Don't worry about standing out, if you do then wonderful because that's the aim.

3. Keep your CV ready but don't let it be the first thing
When approaching employees keep your hands free and don't let your CV be the first thing you hand to them. Have a conversation, a good one and if you like the sound of the company, the way the employee presented themselves ask them politely "Do you mind me leaving my CV with you?".

 4. Network efficiently - don't bore them 
One of the greatest qualities that will help you in life is to have emotional intelligence. If you're able to put yourself in someone else's shoes you'll know what they would like to hear and how you have to behave. In this instance, employees standing there all day answering the same questions over and over again and answering the same questions. Think to yourself, what can you say that will make you memorable? Different? 
You never know, if the person finds you fun and interesting they might offer you an interview - this happened to me. 
Instead of telling them a bunch of things about myself only, which I will be tested on anyway at the interview later on I asked them about their journey. What role are they in? How did they get there? How long have they been in that role? What makes them enjoy their career? What degree did they do? When they answer those questions try to find a common ground between yourself and them. Stay professional but you're allowed to have a laugh with them - just don't force it! Become a natural at socialising, you can practice this skill in your everyday life. Make them realise you're more alike than different and could be the ideal candidate. 

5. Be different, unique, interesting 
When it came to telling them about me, I didn't bore them much with what degree I did and what skills I have because every graduate goes on about it. But not all graduates had 4 part time jobs at once whilst studying, run a blog/business, president of a society, member of societies, public speaking, hosting shows e t c. It's your time to shine and show them everything that you work on in your free time. Do you have an unusual hobby? Anything! Keep it brief, to the point and interesting.

6. Regular networking events not targeted at graduates
Who said grads can only apply for grad schemes? Who knows who you'll meet when you're at these events targeted for people in the industry.

7. Do your Research - who's the boss?
When talking to the employees be casual and smart by asking them what they do what their role is. Usually a head of recruitments comes down with their latest graduate employees. Whilst talking to the graduate employees is real informative, they're not really able to offer you interviews most of the time. You should get to know who the boss is and if you end up talking to a newer employee first you can say something like "Thank you for all the information, would you mind if I stick around to talk to your colleagues as well?"

8. Head down to a pub for after work drinks
Ever heard of afterwork drinks? Who said you have to have a job to be able to join them? It's a public space, now depends how confident you are. One easy way in is to ask one of your friends in the corporate world if they can take you with them to after work drinks! Smart right?

9. Use LinkedIn to be among the right Network
Networking can also be taken to social media. You have to build a network suitable to your goals. It's nice to see what Bethany from High School is up to but it's even better to know what someone in the position you want to be in one day is doing. Female, independent, CEO's are my truly my biggest inspiration so I googled the top CEO boss ladies or something like that. I went on the Forbes list too. I read all their stories and how they worked their way up and then I searched them on LinkedIn and followed them and looked at their work experience to understand how they got there. Social Media algorithms are incredibly clever, so me following these ladies puts me in the right circle of network and it also started suggesting to me the right job opportunities just for having done that.

Of course nothing is guaranteed and you may suck at networking at first but keep at it, the worst that can happen is that you get better at socialising if you aren't already great at it.

I'll be doing one lifestyle post a week! So make sure you come back soon.


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