Casting the Net

Whether you are a student or a professional, networking is a useful way to progress in your career. If you are unsure about how you can build your network then this article may be able to help.

By Fraser Albiston.

5 February 2020 (17 days ago)

For a graduate who is looking for a job or even those who are in a job and are looking for a new one, the first few places that they look would be online or an employer directory. However, would you believe that 80% of jobs are not even listed and are found via networking? The importance of getting to know many people in your chosen profession has never been greater.

What is Networking?

Networking involves meeting and building relationships with professional contacts either face to face or on a web-based platform such as LinkedIn. There are many opportunities to establish a strong network. At Heriot Watt University alone, there is the Actuarial Careers Fair where many of the UK’s leading Actuarial companies send representatives to speak to students about the career prospects available to them. This could give you access to contacts that you can speak to in the future. Moreover, seizing the opportunity to get involved with student groups such as the Student’s Actuarial Society gives you the chance to make friends with students at different stages in their university lives. As they graduate and go on to employment, they can be used as contacts for the future.

Outside of University, there are plenty of events available. Many companies offer open days which lets those who are interested in pursuing a career gain an insight into how a company operates and see if it is the right place for you. Moreover, this is a perfect occasion to speak with people in the industry regarding application questions that you may have. There are also workshops and seminars offered which give further opportunity to meet with people in the industry and allows you learn more about hot topics in the actuarial world too.

Why is Networking beneficial?

Networking comes with a myriad of benefits for both interpersonal and professional development. Firstly, it allows people to revaluate their current position and opens new opportunities. What this means is that you can look at those in your network in a similar position as you and take an in depth look at how you can improve and reassess your current position. Moreover, a larger network will result in more opportunities for progression to be made available to you which can be used to boost your career prospects.

Furthermore, the support and experience gained through networking will mean that you will become more comfortable with meeting new people of any background. This is a perfect way to build self confidence and improve your self-esteem. As a result, you will be able to perform better during assessment centres and other stages of the application process.

Overall, networking is a really important tool for any professional and those aspiring professionals. The benefits gained from growing the number of people in your network will improve your knowledge of the industry. Moreover, networking gives you many opportunities to improve on interpersonal skills and learn new skills. Always bear in mind however that building a network is a two-way street, you do not want to annoy the other person by taking up too much of their time or being rude to them.