The vast majority of jobs in the creative sector are not advertised – some people estimate this at 80%. The majority of jobs and work are won through face to face contact and word of mouth. Your ability to get work will be significantly boosted by making good links and contacts with people in the industry.
You may be trying to get a job, a work experience placement or simply trying to increase your knowledge of the sector.
Networking at its best is simply getting to know like minded people and helping each other where possible. It can benefit you by:
- Making new connections
- Utilising existing connections
- Sharing information, ideas and opportunities
- Building bridges
- Providing support, information and direction
Here are some tips and strategies to help you network:
Start with who you know!
It is less daunting to start with people you know – make a list of people who may be able to help move you towards your goal.
What do the best networkers do?
Best networkers are givers, not takers;
Best networkers are genuine;
Best networkers enjoy themselves;
Best networkers are genuinely enthusiastic.
Here are some suggestions. Taking the lead in your networking can build confidence and impress others:
- Host a party/event
- Build a web presence
- Write Articles/blogs
- Use the media to publicise any events, private views, etc
- Produce a newsletter and circulate to contacts to keep them abreast of what you are doing
- Direct mail and e-mail prospective contacts
- Use your creativity to stand out
- Start a support group and share tips, opportunities and contacts
- Produce publicity leaflets and flyers.
Make more contacts in industry
- Talk to guest lecturers working in the industry. Who can you ask for advice?
- Find out where to meet people working in your chosen area of work.
- Do you know the trade press titles/on line industry sites and do you read them?
- What professional groups or industry associations can you join?
- Have you subscribed to their journals, newsletters or email bulletins?
- Contact professionals or companies directly.
- Go to short courses, training events, exhibitions, careers fairs and private views.
You have to start somewhere, so when you have a natural opportunity, take it and say hello. If on a work experience placement try and talk to as many people as you can. Similarly, at training events, around the coffee machine etc…
Offer to help
A good attitude goes a long way. Leave a new contact with a memory of you as a helpful person. This is a fine start and may encourage them to contact you. If you are at a training or networking event talk to people on their own, they will probably appreciate it.
If experienced professionals take the time to engage and pass on their knowledge you should respect that. By actively engaging with them you are showing your enthusiasm and positive attitude.
When you have made a useful contact make sure you keep in touch from time to time with e-mails, telephone calls, Christmas cards, a newsletter or invite to private view. Even better, when you have established a link, arrange an appropriate meeting or a further point of contact.