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Graduate Careers Advice Video: Networking
I think it would help if more people saw themselves as brands and managed their own brand through their career because no one is going to take as much interest in themselves as they are. I don't mean that we should all be self-regarding and preening ourselves in front of the mirror all the time, but I think we should always think about always thinking of ourselves as a brand you can understand what you need to do next, who you need to know.
You don't have to be brilliant at networking from the word go. In fact a lot of employers in the surveying world will actually do networking courses so will go on a training day. That can be helpful if a little bit cheesy.
Make sure that when you've met people, follow up quickly with a call or an email, something to acknowledge that you've had a meeting or to follow up any agreed next actions. Do that quickly and that is a start of a new relationship and it will stick.
Take loads of business cards with you so at least you can break the ice, hello my name is, and it will give them something to look at as well.
Make sure if you show up at a networking event that you've done your homework before hand. Make sure you're showing up with some interesting relevant points of views and opinions so that you're an interesting person to talk to.
The hardest thing about networking is the confidence. Even if you're not feeling confident try and pretend that you are feeling confident. It is difficult; it's one of things you have to practice.
Make sure that you capture any information you have learned about someone at a networking event as soon as you leave the event or if you can somehow surreptitiously during the event because the reality is that when you meet a lot of people you glean an awful lot and if you don't capture it somewhere you will forget it.
Have in mind that those people you are studying with are going to be your counterparts at university or later on, so even when you are at university you are already starting that process, join as many clubs as you can.
As part of my university course there was an internship at a company called Sun Micro Systems where I worked in their marketing department. It turned out that Gyro, the company I work for now was actually their main agency so I managed to build some relationships through that. I did some work experience with the agency at the end of the internship before I went back to university and at the end of my university term, after I graduated I got offered a job at Gyro having worked there before.
Networking can be at any time at any level, so you can meet people in conferences, you can meet people in training for example you can assign yourself to some training, find people who work in a bank and go and talk to them, see what they're doing, say hello.
Just make an effort to be sociable in terms of sporting events if you're interested in sport. There will always be something for somebody, a point of interest that draws people together.
When you are in a job, if things aren't going right, I think the more friends you have outside that job it gives you important data and information about whether you are in a crap job, in a crap agency or whether it's you and you should go and do something else with your life, but it's also a good source of sanity, a good source of information about the outside world and also a source of potential job opportunities.
The thing is, just don't give up. Find new ways to do things, use your initiative to find creative ways to approach people. Just go and talk to people for the sake of talking to them. There's no harm in writing a letter to the marketing director of Tescos and saying, I want to come in and talk to you, I want to take you to lunch, I don't want a job, I just want to get your advice on how you got into the industry.
That's the final application process along with a gazillion other people who want to do this. You end up in a pile not dissimilar to an X-Factor audition. Maybe you take three steps back and it's something equivalent of camping outside Simon Cowell's house for a fortnight. Find a friend, find somebody who's worked in the business, knows someone in the business - Dads, uncles, mates, friends, brother, doesn't matter. Come for a week, or a day or an hour. Talk to some people, figure out which bit is interesting, which bit you would like to do, all the stuff we were talking about before, because when it comes to the application process you can say to your friend's brother, by the way, I've just put my application in .
You might not have the career behind you to get into this industry but employers really notice those people who go at it in a different whether it's a creative letter or a bright orange envelope, whatever it may be but that thing to stand out.
Sometimes we don't appreciate the networks we already have, so a really good tip is just to kind of take advantage of the people that you know and that you've met and always ask for a business class and keep them. Don't just chuck them into the bottom of your bag and forget them. Keep them and make a note of what was interesting about that person so that if something comes up you can call them up and say, remember when we met on this day and discussed this? I'd really like to follow up with you. It comes across really positively and can get you quite far in life.
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