As with a lot of things in life, being successful in your chosen career can be hard work. There are so many things to think about, such as the skills that you possess, training, portfolios and relationships. This last one can be crucial, because having the right network of people around you can be the difference between success and a lack thereof.
So here are some useful tips to make those very useful career connections.
1. Use the resources around you
Understanding the resources that you can access as a student can be very handy. Charles Sturt University has a brand new Careers & Skills Hub which you can access for free. This includes a whole range of E-Learning modules for you to cover, with a current total of 1,156 different ones (and yes, I did count them all, what a way to spend a day!), which includes 42 modules on networking. Check it out, because learning what you should do is great for moving forward in your career.
There are also workshops offered by Charles Sturt to give you a helping hand, not only with networking but everything career-related, so if you have any other career questions, then you can find answers for them as well. And finally, the internet is a wonderful place. Typing ‘how to make career connections’ into your search bar will give you many, many results. So simply, go nuts!
2. What makes you great?
Before you can go out and create those career connections, first you need to figure out what makes you great. What value can you add to the lives and careers of other people?
Much like a job interview, networking is essentially selling yourself, so think about who you are, what makes you unique in your chosen industry and why someone else in the industry would want to know you. If you know what you bring, then you can easily find connections with other people in small-talk.
Remember, you are special, show them that!
3. Sometimes it isn’t ‘who you know’
Often when talking about making connections, people say “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know”. Sometimes that is true, but I would change it to the opposite, that it is “who knows you”. If people within your industry know you, what you stand for and what you can do, then it really helps with making connections.
From personal experience, a lecturer of mine knew my skills and passions, so got in touch with industry professionals and arranged a meeting with them without me even asking him to. That is a connection that I have, not because I went out and got it but because someone else spread the word of who I was. The more people who know you, the more successful you may be.
4. Social media & LinkedIn are your friends
Social media is everywhere, and more than ever before can it be used in your professional life. Both individuals and companies can be followed on social media, especially on Twitter and Facebook, and more recently on Instagram and Tiktok (this was news to me too!). Following people and companies can provide you with valuable information on their social media activity and if there are any career events that you can partake as an up-and-comer in your industry.
Then there is of course LinkedIn. Its purpose is literally to help you make connections in a professional capacity, with many companies using the platform to look for potential graduates in the industry.
Finally, social media isn’t all following people and being followed. One of my career contacts funnily enough gave me this gem of advice: Have a social media presence if you can. Like I said in point two, show what makes you you.