Careers and Enterprise

Build your network

Networking is about using your existing contacts and making new connections to help you with your job search. Talking to people about their work, what it involves, and how they got in to it can be useful information that you can use to inform your own job choices and to make your job hunting more successful.

Find out about job roles and companies that you might not be aware of, plus get valuable insight into where they recruit and what they look for in candidates.

Make a good impression by asking relevant questions and showing your interest in what the other person has to say.  Be yourself, but don’t forget to pay attention if you are in a networking session that is face to face.  Make eye contact, smile, and try to avoid folding your arms or putting your hands in your pockets.

Possible questions you could ask include:

  • What advice would you give to somebody looking to enter the industry?
  • What types of projects do you get involved with / what does an average day entail for you?
  • What is the best way to look for work experience in this area?
  • Are there any particular skills or qualifications that recruiters value?

Ways to make new connections:

  • Think about who you already know. This could be friends, family, and people you have previously worked / volunteered / studied with.
  • Search for relevant people and organisations on Twitter, who you can follow to get further information. Interacting with someone online can then allow you to message them asking for further information about what they do.
  • Attend careers events on campus and look for any relevant events in London. Research the speakers or companies beforehand, so that you can prepare questions to ask. Keep a note of particular speakers you are interested in, so you can contact them with follow up questions / a thank you note later.

Speaking to people who work in the industry you are applying to can improve your knowledge and understanding of this area of work, which will improve your application and interview answers (commercial awareness).

Through your interactions, you might also hear about any work opportunities that become available. It is worth remembering that many jobs are never formally advertised. This is particularly the case for work experience and temporary opportunities that are often given to people who the employer is already aware of – either through having received CVs and cover letters sent directly to the organisation, or through people they have come into contact with through events and social media interactions. See our information on speculative applications for further information on this method of proactive job hunting.