Live Q&A: How to network your way into a graduate job

For me, the thought of networking conjures up images of going to an event and inevitably ending up in a stilted one-on-one conversation which leads to that dreaded awkward pause.

You know the one – you both stand there grinning at each other in utter silence for what seems like weeks and you desperately rack your brain for small talk while searching for an escape route, any escape route, be it a shared acquaintance, fire alarm or last orders at the bar.

Guardian Careers graduate blogger Hannah Salton, on the other hand, admits to having associated networking until recently with a not-so-pleasant image of a suave but slimy person sucking up to a senior manager.

For whatever reason, many people are dubious about networking. But, as many of you are probably aware, it has become something of a buzzword in job-seeking. The power of networking has cropped up in many a live Q&A as an important step to finding work, from landing research contracts to getting your break in music journalism.

However, don’t think opportunities to network are limited to rooms full of people in suits swapping business cards over glasses of buck’s fizz; although such events are undoubtedly great provided, unlike me, you’ve got your patter nailed. You are networking every time you come into contact with someone, according to a recent Guardian Money piece.

Realising this helped Hannah use networking to her advantage and made her realise it has nothing to do with brown-nosing. The BT graduate scheme insider found by arranging informal chats with people who work in different areas of the business, she built new contacts who have go on to introduce her to their network of friends and colleagues, helping Hannah to investigate her next career move.

So, if you’d like to know more about taking your first steps in networking, we’ve lined up an panel of expert schmoozers to give first-timers the lowdown on everything from using online networks to developing relationships which lead to a leg-up the career ladder. Join us on May 31 – post your advance questions below.

To keep up-to-date with our regular Q&A sessions, you can now sign-up for our newsletter here.

Leave a Comment