Networking strikes fear into the hearts of many, but really it isn’t nearly as bad as it seems. It’s not all CEOs and industry virtuosos swapping success stories over champagne and canapés (although sometimes it can be).
In reality, networking is about making contact with people who can offer information, advice and support, and can tell you about what’s going on in their industry. It’s an opportunity to learn from others, ask questions, and help other people out, too. Meeting a Careers Consultant is networking. Anyone you meet in industry or even at university becomes part of your network – and you become a network for them too.
Typically people find out about interesting (and less well-known) jobs through the contacts they make. Many jobs are never advertised as the recruitment process can be expensive and time consuming, so companies often recruit internally or take on people they know of.
But networking is not going around asking for jobs, though. It’s a means of gathering information, discussing ideas, and getting your name and skills out there. It’s a good way of finding out whether a job or career is right for you by talking to professionals who do the job and who can give you tips on finding opportunities.