Networking is a great way to find out about jobs or get information, advice and support.

Here’s some guidance to help you build and use your network to your advantage.

People in your network

You probably have more people in your network than you think. Your network can be informal and include people you know outside of work.

People in your network that can help you progress your career include:

  • your friends and family
  • people you know from work, volunteering or school
  • people you know on social media
  • recruiters and employers
  • members of clubs or teams you're in

Benefits of networking

The people in your network can help you:

  • find out about jobs, apprenticeships or training schemes
  • learn about a career or company
  • get recommended for a job or grow your reputation
  • find ways to get work experience
  • get advice and support

Getting started

Networking can feel intimidating at the start. If you feel nervous or shy, ask the person you’re talking to something about themselves. It takes the pressure off you and shows that you're interested in them.

Always follow up networking with an action. If you're given a name to contact, do it. Following up shows people that you’re motivated, confident and keen.

Asking your network for advice

One of the biggest ways your network can help is by giving you information and advice.

You can ask members of your network:

  • if they know someone who works in the career you’re interested in
  • whether they know anyone who is currently hiring
  • the best ways to look for vacancies
  • how they got their job

Be clear about what you want and start by asking for something small and realistic. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to help you.

Helping other people

Networking works both ways. It’s a good idea to show that you also have something to offer.

For example, if you see someone asking for advice, offer to help them if you can. It could be as simple as sending them a link to an article online.

Online networking

Online networking is a good way to meet people, especially if you’re nervous about doing it in person.

You can find people to connect with online on social media, LinkedIn, community forums or special interest groups.

These places help you build your network, develop a reputation for being helpful and show you're good at what you do.

Events for networking

You could build up your network by going to events such as:

  • careers and job fairs
  • industry events, talks and conferences
  • college open days
  • specialist events
  • self employed or business workshops

You can check for networking events near you on social media or in your local library.

Related content

Ways to get work experience

Finding job vacancies

Interview tips

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