Any job-hunter can develop a network of useful career contacts without a company director in the family. Networking is easy if you know how, and job-hunters who develop their own employment contacts need never be short of career advice and job offers. Here are five networking opportunities which everyone can take advantage of:


· Employer websites
The internet is an excellent networking resource, but it has to be used in the right way. Entering career-related phrases into a search engine tends to bring up generic information and recruitment agency sites. Instead, consider who you would like to be your future employer and visit their website directly. A well-maintained company website can offer more employment news than the most well-informed employee. Viewing many company websites is as good as having a personal conversation with the recruitment team. They provide the most up-to-date information about jobs and recruitment and also give specific information about how to apply for jobs.

· Recruitment agencies
There are hundreds of recruitment agencies specialising in degree-calibre jobs, and graduates should be aware of the beneficial contacts an agency can make on their behalf. One of the major aims of recruitment agencies is to build a large network of employer contacts. By joining an employment agency you are essentially networking with hundreds of businesses. Graduates who register with four or five recruitment agencies can immediately gain a massive range of employment contacts.

· Work experience
Work experience placements can be an excellent way for job-hunters to establish a network of contacts for the future – an opportunity to meet the very people that have inspired them to pursue their chosen career. There are few other situations that offer career minded individuals the chance to meet established professionals in a working environment. However, bear in mind that some employers take on hundreds of work experience candidates throughout the year. In competitive industries, candidates will have to work very hard to stand out and develop relationships with employees.

· Paid employment
Embarking on any paid work is a valuable networking resource, putting job-hunters in contact with other employees who can provide them with valuable insights into different career options.

· Social occasions
Career contacts are not always made via obvious, employment related routes. Useful career contacts and inside information can be achieved by meeting new people during social occasions. Richard learned about an exciting job opportunity while attending a friend’s office Christmas party. “I got talking to one of my friend’s work colleagues about my career plans. He introduced me to his manager who told me there was a graduate vacancy. He gave me his business card and when I called on Monday he arranged an interview for me. I now work as a trainee within the company.”



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