// The Power of Networking
by Linjie, 16th August 2016
We all hear it time and time again, "it's not what you know, it's who you know". This is truer than ever, particularly as the job market gets increasingly competitive, not to mention the added challenge of obtaining a work visa if you are an international student. No matter how talented you are and how well you performed at university, the fact of the matter is that recruiters receive way too many CV's, especially in London. They are consistently looking for ways to weed out the bad applications and get to the good ones. Therefore, it's important that you make as many connections as possible to increase your chances of getting your CV to the top of the pile.
Why do recruiters care who you know?
Employee referrals are one of the most prominent recruiting methods in today's hiring environment for many reasons. Firstly, a referred candidate is a quicker hire. The recruiter doesn't have to spend the time creating a posting for the position and screening candidates. Secondly, a referred candidate is cheaper to hire. The recruiter doesn't have to spend money posting the position on advertising boards or through an agency. Lastly, studies have shown that referred hires tend to adapt to company culture more quickly and have a lower turnover rate than traditional hires.
How do I meet people?
This is the most common question amongst recent graduates and young professionals, and honestly it is really down to you. It is important to be proactive and put yourself out there. There are plenty of opportunities to meet new connections. These connections can often help you get a job, or if they can't help now, they may be able to put you in touch with someone who can. Make sure that you start early, building relationships takes time and people get busy, so the more people you meet the better. Some starting points are resources through your university, attending business networking events, as well as talking to family and friends about possible connections.
Networking During University
Many universities host networking events for their students and alumni. You can visit your career centre for a list of events or sign up to the career newsletter through your university.
Here are a few links that you may find useful:
Meetups and Business Networking Events
There are hundreds of networking events throughout the UK all year long for every industry. You should do some research on the industry you are interested in and make a list of a few events that may interest you. Make sure you sign up as some events have limited spaces available.
Here are a few you may be interested in:
Date: Wednesday, 19th October 2016
Location: Freemasons' Hall, Covent Garden/Holborn
Date: Tuesday, 11th October 2016
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm or 3:00pm-6:00pm
Location: South Block of Senate House, University of London
Bright Network Graduate Events (Multiple)
Family and Friends
Lastly, don't forget about the people you already know. Ask your family and friends as well as any previous professors or supervisors if they know anyone that they can introduce you to. Make sure before you do this that you have a clear idea of what you want to do. If you simply tell your contact that you don't really mind as long as you can find a job, that makes it look like you aren't interested in anything. While you don't have to know exactly what you want to do, think about some roles and industries you might like to work in before you reach out to people.
Please and Thank You
There is a lot of power in an introduction, so make sure if you get one that you follow up and take advantage of that contact. If someone takes the time to help you, you should always thank them in some way. Perhaps send them a small gift or even just a thank you note. Lastly, don't forget that people like helping people! They have probably been in your shoes and want to see you succeed. Now get out there and start networking, good luck.