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Networking know how
Networking provides opportunities to practise talking confidently about your skills and career goals. And who knows? If you find yourself in the right place, at the right time, you might even bag yourself a new job!
Research the industry by reading a few blogs and news stories before you go.
Balance your networking goal with an open mind. Informal chats over a couple of drinks can lead to amazing opportunities! Remember not to drink too much otherwise people will remember you for all the wrong reasons.
Networking is about learning and sharing knowledge too, so take a genuine interest in others; ask questions and offer helpful advice.
Take business cards (or copies of your CV) to exchange with others. When you get home make a note of where and when you met people on the back of their cards. This helps open conversation if you plan to follow up. Also, collect cards on behalf of friends - not only does this help them but it also expands your own network.
If you find it tricky starting conversations look for someone who’s also alone. Introduce yourself and see where conversation takes you.
It’s important not to be too pushy, but don’t be afraid to ask people who they work for and whether they’d mind referring you to someone who may be able to help.
Follow up on key contacts. Whether it’s a quick email or message on LinkedIn, say it was a pleasure meeting them and ask if they’d be happy to meet for a coffee so you can talk more.
Where to go
Networking events can take the shape of formal breakfast seminars, informal drinks, conferences, lectures, art exhibitions, film festivals or business fairs. Cambridgeshire has a plethora of events, groups and venues you could go along to. Here’s a few to start with…
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