At this time of year, some of you lovely students might be about to leave us and start your graduate job hunt. For the rest of you, it might not be so soon, but you might still want to read on, as it creeps up much closer than you think – I can tell you that!
Regardless of where you are in your career, an important feature of job-hunting is networking! You might have heard someone say that it’s not always what you know, but who you know, if you are looking for a job.
A networking event allows you to meet representatives from companies that you might be interested in working with. This could be once you graduate, once you’ve secured your first job and are looking for your next challenge, or once you’re ready to start looking at more senior roles!
This is your chance to get to know the companies and the people who work there, find out a bit about the culture, their future plans, and what opportunities might be available.
It’s not like a job interview, where an employer asks you questions to see if you are suitable for a role that you have applied for already, but more of a chance to have an informal chat about potential jobs and if you are a potential fit for a company. There might be lots of different stands for you to visit, or you could all be mingling around in a room. Hopefully with snacks!
For attending a networking event, it’s a good idea to wear smart clothes and look professional, such a shirt and trousers, or a dress. Or, you should try to dress to suit the culture of the companies that might interest you. Some companies are a little more laidback, and so smart-casual is more appropriate, such as a shirt and smart jeans, or a tea dress. Look at the details on the event invitation, as there may be mention of the dress code. But either way, definitely don’t wear trackies or your pyjamas!
It’s also a very good idea to bring extra copies of your CV with you, in case you make a good impression with someone. They may keep it on record for a while and if any opportunities come up, they might contact you!
At a networking event, nothing is set in stone, and no job offer is guaranteed. However, they are an excellent way to meet new people, find out more about the culture of a company, find out what roles they may be recruiting for and when, and make new friends. If you have that extra knowledge of what a company is looking for, then it could give you further insight on what to put in your application and how to conduct yourself in an interview.