How to start networking
In case you’re worried about how to start building your network, take comfort in the fact that you’ve been practicing all your life. Networking is just a slightly more deliberate way of establishing relationships with people, with a bit of an ulterior motive.
Begin by getting your LinkedIn profile together; our graduate guide to LinkedIn shows you how. Then contact draw up a list of everyone you know who knows someone who has a job in the fields that interest you. If you have work experience, include former managers and colleagues. Parents and their friends should be on the list, along with professors, careers staff, and alumni from university.
Next, contact everyone on your list and let them know that you are looking for a job. This might be uncomfortable at first, but everyone on your list will understand your situation, and most will appreciate your initiative. Many people on your list will not have a job on offer, but they might recommend a friend or colleague of their own. Be sure to ask for permission to mention the name of anyone who refers you to a new contact.
You should also prepare for some cold calling: contacting people who do the sort of work you’d like to, and seeing what they have to say. This can take a bit more nerve than contacting people you already know, which makes this a great time to consult a mentor.