Before you go running to the nearest bar, hear me out. As I come closer to graduating from university, the number one advice I have been given from my teachers, mentors and the professionals I have met - is that networking is the key to unlocking your career.
1. Join a society or group at uni
First things first, if you’re still studying, consider getting involved with a society or group at uni that’s relevant to your desired industry. Most universities have societies for each faculty. The majority of societies hold a range of events, including networking events that give you the opportunity to meet with professionals in the industry. You’ll be amazed at how many friends you’ll make - who will also be your professional contacts once you kick off your career.
2. Become a member of an industry group
Now is the time to start looking out for industry groups that you can become a student member of. For those in the communications and media industry, I’d take a look at the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
Personally, going to the events run by the IABC have especially helped me in building up my confidence when approaching people for a conversation. It sounds easy but as a student it can be quite intimidating. These skills will help you greatly in interviews too, so don’t underestimate this.
3. Google networking events
A Google search of local networking events is another simple way to broaden your horizon, take a friend or brave it out and go alone - and meet some people!
And if you’re wondering about the drinking part, a lot of these networking events have free drinks and food – so there really is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go.