We always hear that networking is the best way to get jobs, but how do you start?
Networking is where you reach out to people and form relationships. For graduates this can seem like quite the scary thing, but it’s just another skill you have to develop.
Although networking can seem a bit embarrassing, us graduates have nothing to lose. So many of us get our dream jobs just by talking to the right people, so why not give it a shot?
Networking for Graduates
1 – Start Small
You’ve just finished uni and you probably have a total network of 0 – or so you think.
You actually begin building your network at school, part-time jobs and uni. Your network is bigger than you might think – it includes your family, friends and lecturers.
Lots of networking happens when two strangers speak but it also happens at the pub with your best friend, so start small. Begin taking an interest in the people you went to school with – ask about their careers and how they got there. Even if someone is in a completely different field than you want to be, their network could be the one that gets you your dream job.
2 – Do Your Research
Now that you’ve got your close network you can begin reaching out to strangers. But first, you have to do your research.
Nothing is more irritating than receiving a random Twitter or LinkedIn message from a stranger who knows nothing about you. To get people to reply do some research on their job, company and industry.
Get your stalker on and find them on social media. Look at their LinkedIn job history, the people they follow on Twitter and get to know what they’re interested in. By crafting your message around all of these things it becomes exciting and personal. Your first message can’t be begging for a job, but it can be an insightful question about something they love to talk about.
If you want to learn more about their industry, check out the DigitalGrads Academy. Our media and tech training courses are built to give you the knowledge to ask insightful questions and make meaningful connections.
Top tip: Make sure that you’re sending your message on Twitter or LinkedIn and not to their personal Facebook account!
3 – Offer a Hand
Don’t you just hate it when someone only talks to you when they want something?
When you’re networking it’s easy to create a one-sided relationship. And as a graduate it’s easy to think that you have nothing to offer, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
Make sure that you’re offering a helping hand and really creating a mutually beneficial relationship.
If someone is working on a side hustle and could use a hand, let them know that you’re experienced and available. This can mean doing little things for free but in the long run, helping them fix a problem could turn into your next job.
4 – Stay Consistent
It’s so easy to mindlessly scroll through Twitter and LinkedIn, never engaging with anyone or anything. Before you know it, months have flown by and you haven’t spoken to your network in ages.
To create a powerful network you have to be consistent. Send happy birthday messages, comment on their posts, send them interesting articles and make sure that you’re part of their life. Little things like this can lead to bigger conversations, meaningful connections and fantastic jobs down the line.
Networking is all about playing the long game, so keep your profiles up-to date and your connections engaged. By spending a few minutes on it every day, you can make your network devoted to you.
5 – Be Genuine
People don’t want to talk to ‘the perfect applicant’. Why? Because they’re not real.
So be genuine, humble and a fun person to talk to. Don’t be afraid to let your personality out of the ‘professionalism’ box and be a real person.
Networking for graduates is all about making friends. People love to talk to passionate go-getters, so don’t be afraid!