Kirstin on Fullback and Friends | Mention the word ‘networking’ and for some of us, we become overwhelmed by fear, get anxious, and go into a cold sweat. We know it is really important for our jobs, and socially, so why do most people label themselves as ‘unsuccessful networkers’? For the students’ I work with, networking is something that they will be exposed to, and this would be in the forms of, career fairs, employer networking cafe’s, practitioner/employer presentations, working on collaborative creative briefs etc. Students will also be introduced to networking through their part-time jobs, volunteering, placement years, internships and extra-curricular activities. In addition, students are introduced to networking via social media platforms, especially through LinkedIn.
Networking is for everyone, not just the confident, outgoing personalities, and you do not need to drastically change your personality to become a successful networker. Identify your skill strengths, and also note skill areas that you can improve on, then find non-threatening environments, experiences to help you improve in these areas. This could mean, finding a supportive mentor/buddy. Connect with friends/peers who have completely opposite personalities to you, especially in group based projects. I guarantee you will both learn from the experiences and your confidence/skill sets will be enhanced by the experiences too.