Networking is the most effective method for increasing your chances of finding work and is one of the most important career development activities in which you can engage. Some reports suggest that at least 60% of all jobs are found by networking.
What is networking?
Networking is not about asking for a job! It is about identifying and connecting with people who may be able to help you by sharing their insight, advice and experience. You might be able to return the favour by helping them in some way, or you could pay the favour forward by supporting a graduate in their early career once you have begun your own career).
By developing a strong professional network you will:
- Find out about opportunities that may not be advertised
- Acquire insider information on organisations and companies that will be invaluable during the application process.
- Make you and your aspirations known to as many people as possible so as to achieve your goals.
How to develop your network
You already have a network of people who potentially could help you.
- Your family and friends (and their family and friends)
- Your classmates (and their family and friends)
- Your lecturers, tutors and other college staff
- Trinity alumni (including the mentoring programme)
- Previous employers and work colleagues
When looking for work it is important that you let people know what you are hoping to do and what you have to offer. If you want to find out about a particular sector but don’t know anybody in that area, ask the people in your network if they know someone in the sector work who could be approached for advice.
Once you are given a contact name, the next step usually involves either meeting the contact face to face to have an informal informational interview or exchanging emails with them.
In these situations it is not appropriate to ask someone directly for a job. Your aim should be to make a connection and get some helpful insights and information about their job and the sector they work in.
One of the best ways way to build your professional network is through LinkedIn. There are currently over 500 million users of which 80,000 are Trinity alumni.
LinkedIn allows you to:
- Research industries, companies and individuals
- Join and contribute to discussion groups
- Identify and contact connections who may be able to help you.
- Search and apply for jobs
You’ll find advice and information no how to make the most out of LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com. It’s important to get your LinkedIn profile right, so if you would like some help with it come along to a drop in CV/LinkedIn profile clinic at the Careers Service to have your LinkedIn profile reviewed by a careers consultant – see MyCareer for upcoming drop-in clinic dates and times.