Don’t miss any opportunity to meet new people. Right on your doorstep, there are guest talks going on throughout the year and they are a fantastic way to network and learn from the best. It’s also important to not only look at events going on in your course but in different schools, which could potentially benefit you.
Look at the bigger picture, the yearly calendar will be full of networking events in your local area and further afield, there’s always something going on in London. Attend shows and discover companies and individuals that could offer you a wealth of knowledge.
If you haven’t already, check out Part two of this post for my first couple of tips for networking at university.
Engage in the event
As for guest speakers – go and chat to them! If you’re smart you’ll have done your research beforehand so you can begin a conversation based on something you know will interest them. A few weeks ago we had a recruiter come in, and after speaking with him about my interest in work experience over the summer, he gave me his email and asked me to send over a portfolio. People do want to help you succeed, you just have to engage them. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject of work experience, people need you – we are responsible for the future of the economy after all.
Remember the business card isn’t dead. Ignore your lack of business and get them made, it’s a personal touch that will remind people to call you. Having spoken to John Bradley, a retired influential fleet manager for Hampshire constabulary, he stressed that handing out business cards is still as important today. “I file them with a little yellow tag, on ones that I will need in the near future. I still get phone calls now from people who I handed my business card to and they need an advisor, it’s amazing how people won’t forget you.”
Trust in your knowledge, but you don’t know it all
Have faith in your own abilities, you would be surprised how little “experts” may know on a subject that you could talk about for days. Talk to people with confidence, it will reassure them that you know what you are talking about. I found that through various jobs I have taken on, filming for different companies, Directors 40 years my senior could not tell you the difference between a camera and an iPad. They are trusting in you to do what you do well, so embrace it and show people you are great.
But keep in mind, you don’t know everything yet. There will always be somebody better than you in something. Don’t hate these people, learn from them. If you know nothing about their area of expertise just emphasise your deep interest and excitement for what they do. It will earn you respect and make people want to teach you or even better, help you.