“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” We all know the saying, but is it actually true?
After a minimum of three years at university spent writing essays and revising for exams, choosing to ignore this well-known expression is an attractive (and all too easy) path to pursue.
Indeed, it is tough to find a job without decent qualifications – especially in the current labour market which sees hundreds of highly educated graduates being rejected every day.
But with the right contacts often proving extremely valuable as you begin your job hunt, an empty contacts book can make the process even harder. So how can you rectify this situation?
Remember to make use of former bosses, or senior staff you might have reported to during internships and work experience placements. If you got on well with them and did a good job, they are likely to be more than happy to write you a complimentary reference, which you can tack onto the end of your CV. Employers are often reassured by references as they show you can shine in the world of work – and potentially in their company.
Networking is also a great way to actively pursue contacts in your chosen industry and publicise your name and interests.
Sometimes, networking opportunities will fall straight into your lap. Universities like to keep in touch with alumni and send out occasional emails detailing networking events across the country, where you can meet former students employed in the industry you aspire to work in.
It is easy to sign up to online professional networking sites. LinkedIn is a good place to start and offers you the chance to widen your circle of contacts and join groups within your chosen field.
Some industries (such as journalism) hold events, conferences and courses all year round. You may have to pay to attend, but these kill lots of birds with one stone: you’ll learn a lot, have something extra to whack onto your CV and will be surrounded by a mass of potentially useful contacts.
Grab a towel and dry off: networking is a sure-fire way to pluck you from the graduate talent pool, whichever way you go about forging new links.