Hi, I’m Jess, an Uptree student ambassador - I'm hoping to study Marketing at university with a placement year and then go on to work in the marketing department of a large organisation with strong sustainable values.
This blog is all about networking and the value of it, hopefully this will encourage you to try it for yourself!
Jess is currently studying Business, Economics and Psychology at A-level
What is this thing called networking and why should I bother, I ask myself?
Well, it turns out it's one of the most important skills needed for business. Often people talk about networking and assume that everyone knows what it is but, in reality, we can sometimes be a bit unsure about what it actually means.
Networking is the process of building business relationships and it is a chance to connect with others in the industry
My blog post is split into three parts:
The importance of networking
How to network
Where to network
The importance of networking:
It is important to use your network to grasp opportunities. This soft skill is great for getting things done in your career. Knowing how to - and the art of - networking is the key to this.
This is a very undervalued skill but investing time in it and showcasing yourself in a professional light brings lots of opportunities. But, more importantly, it brings new experiences, ideas, inspirations, and perspectives.
The earlier you start practising networking, and the bigger your network becomes, the better!
It can help with job prospects but can also help you acquire talent for your own future businesses. This skill can help you lots as even if you don’t know anyone to complete a task, someone in your network will know someone who will know how to get it done and this is the key to success.
How to network:
The easiest way to start a conversation with someone is to firstly discuss any common interests. Try to prepare some general questions before meeting someone or try to come up with some as you are talking to them.
One of the key influences of success during networking is knowing your value and what you can bring to the table.
Most importantly, you want the get the right balance of being professional but also friendly as you don’t want to come across too informal, but you also don’t want others to get the impression that you are only talking to them for your own benefit.
Once you have expanded your network, make sure to follow up with any questions you may still have and thank them for their time
Always offer yourself if you think that you can be of any use to them, even if they don’t need your help, they will be more likely to remember you and they may then ask for help in the future.
Where to network:
You may think it is harder to network during a time when you can’t meet anyone face to face but in reality, it is easier to network now than ever before! Now that events are all virtual, you can meet people from all over the world from the comfort of your bedroom on webinars.
The key to networking is to keep in contact with anyone you meet on virtual events.
For example, after my work experience at Kantar, I kept in contact with the other people who attended the work experience week as well and they are now part of my network. It was a bit daunting at first but now I have become more confident at networking and I often reach out to people on LinkedIn to connect after I have interacted with them.
The easiest way to do this is to connect with them on LinkedIn and ask some follow up questions to get the conversation rolling. Uptree is a great way to connect with new people and expand your network.
If you attend a virtual work experience event, you can then ask to join their network and keep in contact with them. Eventually, when we are able to attend events in person again and network face to face, it may feel very scary to start with, but it is important to feel the fear and do it anyway because otherwise you could be missing out on huge opportunities.
My final piece of advice would be to take every opportunity to build your network as you never know when it might come in handy in the future.