How to expand your network quickly

Nov 21, 2020

It can feel hopeless if you’re applying for jobs and hearing nothing back. However, it’s important that you do everything you can to turn things around.

The silent rejection from an employer can be surprisingly deafening, so it’s only right that you make some noise. 

Well, rapidly acquiring some new contacts and connections will give you an extra edge amidst all the competition and generate some buzz around your applications. There’s not a moment to waste!

So, here are a few tips on how to expand your network quickly.

1: Attend Careers Fairs

Careers fairs are incredible opportunities for networking, but you need to do more than attend them; rather, you need to make the most of them. Turn up with a crisp CV that anyone would be humbled to read, dress well, speak clearly, and present the best version of yourself. 

Obviously, regular careers fairs will be harder to come by in the current climate, but that’s no excuse for not putting your name out there. Being flexible is part of being employable, so throw your hat into every digital ring you can and find a virtual career fair. All attendees are only granted access if they ‘pre-qualify’, meaning you’ll get more time to engage with the employers if you get in. 

Don’t turn down anything unless you have a better offer. Whether it’s undergraduate placements or graduate internships, they’re brilliant in their own right and they may leader on to further networking opportunities.

2: Reach Out to your existing network

Your personal network is incredibly important when expanding your professional connections. It’s a well-known fact that employers favour personal recommendations, so having some of those at your back certainly won’t hurt. If you can get close friends or family to tout your abilities, it’ll make a big impact on your application.  

However, it’s not only those closest to you who make worthy contacts. The ‘loose touch’ brand of networking is efficient too, whereby casual acquaintances such as friends of friends, ex-colleagues, or people you went to school with can quickly expand your network. This is because they’re more likely to move in different social circles, yielding more unexpected opportunities. For example, you ask about a job, and they might instead introduce you to beneficial degree apprenticeships. 

3: Be Active

It’s important to show that you’re active in society and that you’re sincere about your interests and work ethic. Even volunteering can give you lots to talk about while you’re networking, and you’ll prove to potential contacts you’re worth spending time on.  

Something like graduate apprenticeships is a great way to tell networking contacts that you have an idea of where you want to be, and that you’re taking the time to expose yourself to new experiences and on-the-job learning. Moreover, some students have been offered virtual graduate internships, three-day remote training experiences by high profile companies such as Google and M&S. Any experiences like these will make you distinguishable in the eyes of your contacts, and they’ll feel confident about you. 

Showing that you’re willing to stay busy in tough times is very commendable and will impress connections and employers. Any type of role is highly valuable on its own merit in one way or another, so definitely take advantage of them. 

Final Thoughts

Sometimes networking might not lead to an average job but instead, be a big stepping stone to securing a very prestigious role. Take opportunities wherever you can get them and get to know everyone you encounter, and your list of networking contacts will naturally grow. 

Guest speaker bio: Isabella is a respected writer who supports a range of businesses, organisations and publications throughout the corporate market, providing them with expert content that enhances their SEO and benefits readers. She’s keen to share her insight with graduates and help them to achieve their life goals as quickly as possible.

Featured photo by Matilda Wormwood from Pexels

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