Building a Network

What is a network?            

Why bother building one?           

You’ve probably heard the old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know”, well that is still very true in many situation and developing the “who you know” is the reason for building a network.

It’s really not as complicated as it might sound.  Do you use social media?  If you do then you have a network already.  Understanding that a network is simply anyone and everyone you know probably makes it sound less intimidating.  The real skill from this point on is to increase your network with people who can be of real help to you as you develop your future ideas and career plans. 

There are many ways to do this.  Firstly, consider your existing immediate network – friends, family, neighbours, staff at the University, colleagues in clubs/ societies/ interest activities and those social media contacts.  Who are they, what do they do, what do they know, who else do they contact?  Then think about what you need to know and what you’d like to explore further, such as:

  • what to do after your degree                                                                                                              
  • what jobs might be open to you
  • how to find useful and relevant summer experiences
  • would postgraduate studies suit you
  • what research topics could follow on from your current studies
  • which employers value your degree subject

Finding answers and ideas related to the above may mean finding more contacts to add to your network who have more specialised knowledge or experiences.  To help you on your way with developing such a network we suggest you develop a LinkedIn profile and start involving yourself in discussion groups, join alternative clubs and societies, make full use of your tutorials and the staff in your department.  To find out more follow these links:

LinkedIn - Developing a Professional Profile (PDF)