Career advice: Networking
In 2008, 80 per cent of UAL graduates found work through networking and work experience opportunities. Only about 10 per cent of jobs in the creative industries are advertised, so it is an essential way to find out about hidden jobs, as well as extending your own business or freelance career. This column offers tips for you to take networking further when you are looking for opportunities.
You probably already have a network. Make a list or a map of who is in your current network. This includes your colleagues, peers, family, friends and acquaintances. Who do you know? And who might they know that you could contact? It’s not what you know, it’s not who you know, it’s who they know!
Research - Go to events where there will be people who will be able to help you professionally.
Objectives - What would you like to gain from going to this event or speaking to this person? Set yourself goals of what you would like to achieve from contacting people.
Attitude - Be interested, enthusiastic and willing to talk to people about their work and how they have got to where they are in their career.
Risks - Talk to lots of people wherever you are. You can make industry contacts in the most unexpected places.
Preparation - Write and practice a short script beforehand so that you can describe your work and your career goals. Also have marketing materials (business card, CV, etc) ready to give out.
Follow Up - If you make a contact, follow up by contacting them promptly, instead of waiting for them to contact you.
Relationships – In the end this is what it’s all about! Everyone is a potential contact so keep an open mind and think of networking as setting up mutually beneficial relationships.