Earlier in the semester, Erika and I were lucky enough to attend a Griffith Business School Alumni Network event where special guest speaker Wendy Pavey, a Personal Brand Strategist and Executive Brand Advisor, facilitated a workshop about the creation of a powerful personal brand for career success.
One of the points brought up throughout the presentation focused on the importance of developing and maintaining professional contacts – or networking. From my experience, this is a skill that everyone can benefit from, whether you are in your first year of university, or already in the workforce; and there are heaps of easy ways to successfully develop a network of your own.
Here are five tips and tricks to help you network your way to your dream job!
- Volunteer: the best way to meet people and to build your professional associations is to get involved with an organisation or cause that you are interested in. Not only will you get to lend a hand and gain experience in an area that you are passionate about, you will get to meet a whole host of people, each with their own interests and professional connections. In the time that I’ve been volunteering with Explore, I’ve met some amazing people, developed my skills as a writer and had the opportunity to attend some great events!
- Attend school functions: Going to events like the Business School Alumni Network’s personal branding workshop is an excellent way to gain a valuable insight into the world of employment, and also to meet people. At the event I had the opportunity to talk to students, Griffith staff and academics along with people who work in a range of additional fields including business and marketing. Even though I’m not a business student, it was great to hear about the broad range of interests and areas – both professional and more generally – that people were involved with.
- Attend class: Some of the most valuable networking opportunities may come from your lecturers and tutors – experts in their field of study who are sure to have some excellent insight into the opportunities and career paths on offer for your program. Your peers are also valuable connections, they are completing the same course as you and probably have some similar interests.
- Update your LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn is a digital networking tool with over 330 million members that allows you form connections with professionals, peers and associations in your fields of interest. Building a LinkedIn profile is an excellent way to keep up to date with the latest developments in your area of study and also showcase your own professional interests, skills and experiences to a range of potential employers.
- Keep in contact: It’s great to get to know people and form professional connections, but they are only effective if you maintain them. Networking isn’t about using people when you need them, it’s important to make sure that you give back. Offer your contacts your own advice if they need it and remember to keep them in mind if you hear of any opportunities that might be of interest to them. Check in every now and then and see how things are going on their end. Why not catch up for a coffee and a chat? Also make sure to say thank you when a professional contact offers you assistance or advice. A little gratitude goes a long way, and it’s always nice to feel appreciated.
Hopefully some of these tips will be of use to you as you begin to build and develop your own professional networks! And if you need help make sure you contact the Griffith University Careers and Employment service – they really love helping students get ready for the world of work 🙂