I’m sat on the wonderful Megabus in the pouring rain heading down to London for a few days of History research. What’s more, I’m exhausted. A full day in the office yesterday followed by a speaking conference my company was sponsoring resulted in some quickly acquired skills and a late night. But this got me thinking. Networking is something that doesn’t really get taught to Arts and Humanities students. We are taught to write awesome essays and live in the library, but networking is one of those essential skills to make waves in the employment and business market.
Again, very often we lack the need to network with professionals but taking that extra time to collect a few business cards, shake a few hands and introduce yourself goes a long way.
Networking doesn’t have to mean going to, often, overpriced conferences, cheesy motivational speaking sessions or random visits to businesses, but is does mean putting a face to the name. As some readers might know, I have a tiny knowledge of recruitment, like this much: |–|, and yet somehow last night, I managed to pitch our companies accountancy and financial recruitment services to a independent financial auditor who had some potential clients looking for financial recruitment.
Throw your CV out of the window and impress someone with your knowledge, not regurgitated spiel, but a personal discussion about their query. If you can show yourself as having a personal, attractive appeal in what you do, people, clients and contacts will be much more interested in working with you.
For those of you who are going into internships, summer placements and graduate placements this mean make the most of your phone! Network and contact others and get a feel for the market you’re in. If you can impress people now, then after your internship (unless you’re awesome and they keep you on) you can always pop a cheeky email to catch up.
Finally, don’t forget. Networking is not all about taking but giving as well. If you only contact people asking for something they will get sick of you. A few emails every few weeks asking how people are, goes a long way. In my internship I did this, a little email asking how his weekend was and boom…an offer for a front page story and coverage of our company. Offer your services to others with that golden line at the bottom of an email, “Let me know if I can help”. It works wonders.
Have a try and see what works. Make people think “Yeah…they were awesome. Might give them some work to do…” and before you know it you will be getting emails and opportunities by the bucket-load.