Networking tips for students, our top 5, includes how to build and maintain your network to help you secure a graduate job and a great career.
1. Start right now
University is a gold mine for building and maintaining networks of like-minded, educated and ambitious people. You are surrounded by talent and potential every single day.
Don’t hide away in your existing friend groups or in your room.
The first place to start is to talk to students on your course, if you’re studying Maths and want to become an accountant the chances are there will be lots of others on your course with the same plan. Get to know them.
Take their emails and phone numbers, and add them on Facebook and LinkedIn.
A dating game
Networking is similar to dating. You can meet a lot of different people and essentially you are searching for a connection.
A recent survey showed that 20% of British students “meet the loves of their life on campus.” It’s not difficult to see why. You have so much time as a student to form relationships with people in a relaxed, fun way. Likewise, many successful entrepreneurs meet their co-founders at university.
Start building your network today!
2. Identify your existing network
The great news is that everybody has a network. Write a list of who you know, and remember they will each have their own network. You might not be able to see it at first but take a look at the following:
– University tutors
– Past work colleagues
Who may be able to give you advice on your career? Who may be able to introduce you to an employee at your target company?
A two way street
Remember, it’s a two way street. Think about what you can offer them in return, are there people in your network who could benefit from being introduced to each other?
Ask intelligent questions and make it as easy as possible for the other person. For example, if they are busy working in a full time job arrange a convenient time to call them and keep it brief.
A great way to build relationships is to offer to take people out for a coffee.
Meeting face to face has more impact than a phone call, and much more than an email!
3. Surround yourself with the best
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with?
Are they helping you with what you want to achieve?
Spending time with others who share the same ambition and goals can be a huge motivation. As we know, succeeding in getting a graduate job requires determination and persistence. If your friends choose to spend hours playing video games, you will find it hard to stay on track with your job applications.
If you are keen to get a job in investment banking, why not join a maths, business or finance related society. Many societies organise events so offer to get involved, it is the perfect way to socialise with other members.
It is highly likely some of them will want to get a job in the same industry and you will be able to learn from and help each other.
When building your network, always think about what you can offer in return.
4. Attend networking events & careers fairs
One of our coaches, Jayde Savage, is a graduate recruiter at a large global investment bank. As part of her networking tips for students she recommends preparing in advance for events and careers fairs. If a candidate is particularly impressive, the recruiter will note down their name and mark them as a strong candidate, i.e. “one to watch.”
Do not underestimate the impact of these events.
(We will post another article soon about how to prepare for networking events and careers fairs, including preparation, how to dress, what to say and how to follow up.)
Bright Network events
For over seven years Bright Network helps its partners to find thousands of their graduate hires through running regular events. They work with over 250 leading employers including McKinsey & Company, Deutsche Bank, Bain and Company, PwC, EY, Slaughter and May, Morgan Stanley, BCG, Dyson, Diageo, Vodafone, Lazard and HSBC.
Vanessa Odunsi secured Spring Weeks at HSBC, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley after attending a Bright Network event.
5. Win friends
One of the greatest self-help books of all time is “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. I highly recommend it and it also provides great networking tips for students.
In the book, he offers 6 principals to make people like you. And it works.
- Become genuinely interested in other people
- Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interest
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
Try it out for a week and you will see the difference in people’s attitude towards you.
Building and maintaining a professional network is all about being great with people. It’s about making them like you.
If you can master these networking tips for students, you are sure to have a successful career.
Networking tips for students summary:
- Start building your networking right now at university
- Identify your existing network – it’s bigger than you think
- Surround yourself with the best, people who share your goals
- Go to networking events and careers fairs
- Bright Network offers regular networking events with top UK companies
- Win friends – 6 key principals to make people like you