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Using a network

Networking is a very misunderstood but highly valuable activity for both career planning and job searching. By effectively communicating with useful contacts you can:

  • gain first-hand industry knowledge from current professionals
  • improve your visibility and career progression in a particular field and demonstrate your skills, commitment and initiative
  • find voluntary or work experience to enhance your marketability and access positions that are never potentially advertised in the ‘hidden’ job market.

Research suggests that more people find jobs through networking and by 'word of mouth' than any other job source.  To find out more about how to make the best use of an existing network of contacts (or begin to generate a set of new contacts) see The Careers Group guide to networking.

The UCL Alumni Careers mentoring network
The UCL Alumni careers mentoring network
is a web-based facility through which graduates can contact UCL alumni to gain an insight into the realities of working in specific professions. Hundreds of UCL alumni spanning a wide range of professions have volunteered to become informal ‘mentors’ to UCL students and graduates considering their career options.

Information Interviewing
A great way of utilising contacts is to use them as a way of conducting 'job research' as opposed to directly asking for jobs or experience that they may not be in a position to provide.  In many cases a great way of beginning a dialogue with a useful contact can be to identify key individuals who might be willing to talk about their industry sector and role and provide advice and insight for someone in your position. You might be surprised just how willing people are to talk about themselves and their jobs given the opportunity.

You will add to your knowledge, learn more about how jobs 'feel' from the inside and raise your visibility with people who might be in a position to further your career. Many UCL GradClubbers have used this technique to go on to gain shadowing, work experience and access to others who may be influential in future hiring decisions.  

For more insight and practical information about how to begin information interviewing as part of your job hunting, see this guide brought to you by Windmillsonline.

Page last modified on 04 apr 14 10:56 by David Carter

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