Networking has long been a time honoured tradition, which most people use every day without even realising it. Networking is not about asking for a job, it’s an effective way of starting your career planning and job search.
It’s also a good way of making useful:-
- Gaining relevant industry knowledge and experience
- Discussing ideas and identifying career development and progression routes
- Developing relationships by demonstrating your skills and commitment
- Identifying employment and training opportunities in order to enhance your marketability
Developing your own personal brand and getting your name out there is key to networking success. Students and graduate should use all possible means at their disposal to achieve this. A good starting point would be to think about your objectives, what you are looking for and who might be best placed to help you.
To begin building your personal network you should:-
- Starts talking to people you already know, your family, friends, lecturers, other students and graduates/Alumni. If they introduce you to someone that could potentially be of help, politely ask for an email and/or telephone number, and follow up your request with a short note and/or conversation as soon as possible after you’ve met them, so they remember you!
- Set up a LinkedIn account as this is effectively your online CV. You can make it more interesting to potential employers by adding a professional video, presentation or publications you have been involved in.
- Sign up to the relevant careers and employer events which is regularly organised by GSM Careers and is another excellent way of developing your employability skills and engaging with employers.
- Attend conferences about topics that relate to the financial sectors that interest you. Note the names of the speakers, and other delegates who you may wish to make contact with.
- Many leading finance company offer Insight Days including JP Morgan, Suisse, EY and Deutsche Bank. It’s a good way of discovering you ideal career path, learning new skills and building commercial awareness. Also your name will already be known to them when you apply for internships and/or jobs.
- Join clubs, societies and associations that are related to the financial industry you are interested in e.g. GSM Finance Society & Finance Conduct Authority). This can be also done using social media, by joining groups on LinkedIn where you can follow industry news or even create your own group.
- Attending the London Graduate Fairs like the ones taking place in October and June is another excellent way of meeting and having direct contact with employers.
Another useful tip for networking is to have a business card with your name and contact details on hand to give away when you meet someone whilst networking. Companies like Vista specialise in professional custom made business cards which are relatively cheap to designed and print.
In all of these scenarios, be open and friendly! Many of the people you meet will be in the same position, remember you are bound to meet new people, catch a few names, and collect a few business cards to add to your personal network.
Remember networking can be really tiring and you will need to be persistent, so having clear objectives, strong determination and high energy levels will help.