Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Top 5 Tips for Networking

I have frequently talked about networking as a valuable tool when searching, applying and gaining work placements. It is obviously not only limited to placements, but it is a tool that will come in handy throughout your working life.
To get you started, as usual, I have listed 5 top tips. Nevertheless, make sure you do some of your own research, once you’ve read up on the basics below.

1) Social Media
As I said in my previous blog post, I cannot emphasise more the importance of utilising social media. Make sure you have set up an account with LinkedIn, and added any friends/co workers that you already know. Make sure you set up a Twitter account too, and at the very least, follow some of the Twitter accounts that I’ve mentioned on here. Additionally, follow people that you know like friends, co-workers, and any professionals in your field (don’t forget me!). As well, keep a lookout for new placement and career opportunities.

2) Email
Don’t forget about the little things like emails. Get use to sending out emails professionally and create your signature. Some placements may like you to use one of their signatures. For example, at CocoKouture I have my own standard signature. However, for other emails that I send (e.g. to lecturers), I’ll incorporate a standard end like ‘Kind Regards’, and just below I’ll include my blog URL and Twitter handle. This is because I’m not employed at a specific company, so I don’t have a compulsory signature.

3) Whilst you’re on placement
Don’t forget that whilst you are on a placement, use your time productively and speak to as many people as possible. Obviously, when you’re at a placement you’re gaining and developing skills and so on, but don’t forget about the other significant aspects - like building up a collection of contacts. You can meet people in the industry through other people, so build your relationships.

4) Keep in touch
Further to my point above, it is a good idea to build relationships with current contacts. This will include some form of communication, and at the very least so, following them on Twitter or having them on your LinkedIn account. In addition, you could send them an email at Christmas or other appropriate times of the year to keep in touch.

5) Optional Additions
Not everyone will have the chance to do this yet, but if you’re enrolled with a company on a placement year for example, then try and get hold of a few business cards. This way when you’re out and about at company events you can help spread the word and advertise yourself. I received some very small stylish business cards last week from CocoKouture. They were colourful and creative saying cute phrases like ‘Will work for shoes’. Of course, I am not suggesting handing cards like this out at corporate business events, but the idea is still there to advertise. Moreover, I don’t have any personal business cards as of yet, but if you have the opportunity within a company to receive personalised ones, then make sure you do. Business cards are important even if you’re self employed – probably more so.
Also, check out any other forms of advertising. This could be on a personal level or on a business level. For example, along with my business cards, I got a t-shirt with the CocoKouture logo, I uploaded this to Twitter (for anyone who’s interested!), and sent it over Twitter to the Editor-in-Chief, who did a ‘retweet’. It may not be much but it’s a little extra advertising! This will probably be more relevant once you’re on a placement, but when you’re not, you need to think outside the box a little e.g. creating an original blog.

Don’t forget to contact me with any blog post suggestions or queries, and I’ll try to answer as best I can. In addition, I’ve been getting a lot of hits recently and plenty of subscribers too, so make sure you subscribe and avoid missing any of my blogs.

As Christmas is approaching, I will not be posting up any of my usual blogs on Saturday (24th) or Tuesday (27th). This is because even the publishing intern needs a few of days off. However, I will be posting up festive replacement blogs on the 24th and the 31st. I’ll resume ‘normal’ posts by Tuesday 3rd.

Merry Christmas.

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