Don’t be scared to network – advice from ECA Alumna

We’re delighted to feature this post from Architecture alumna Zoe Rigg today as CCCF gets underway.  CCCF offers  great opportunities to meet people in the creative industries and we are really keen to encourage students to make the most of these events – but don’t just take our word for it…                          

Getting an architectural placement or job is not easy. It can be quite daunting to know where to start. When I was looking for my first ‘big break’ into the world of architecture I didn’t have many contacts in the architecture community, I regretted all the missed networking opportunities I had at university and cursed my painful shyness. So I had to take it upon myself to send out many C.V’s and portfolios to a fair few architects’ offices in Scotland and the UK. At this time the financial crisis was at its peak so it was difficult to get a response never mind an offer. The relentless rejections or no responses were getting me down and really knocked my confidence.

I then decided to change tack. I received a list from my university of practices in the UK and abroad that had taken on Part I students from Edinburgh University in the past. After some tentative C.V’s being sent out to practices abroad I got a response from a practice in Switzerland not only offering a job but a paid position with a decent salary. I then had to decide should I take the plunge and go abroad or stay in the UK and struggle along looking for a role in the UK? It was a no-brainer – go abroad. It was the best decision I had ever made in regards to my architecture career. It opened my eyes to the possibilities out there for a young architectural assistant in Europe and how easy it was to transfer the skills learned in the UK to an office abroad. Having those previous students paving the way in these practices really helped me get a job.

It isn’t always easy for someone to move abroad so I wished I’d realised the importance of attending events held by the university to help with networking and meeting new people.

As someone who is very introverted I find these events difficult, so my top tip for an introvert’s guide to networking is Do Not Put Pressure on Yourself, you do not need to talk to everyone in the room, you do not need to find a job from every interaction or a new LinkedIn connection and you do not need to be there from start to finish. If it gets too much for you can always tap out – at least you are putting yourself out there and the more events you attend the easier it will get. You need to focus on the positives: your network is increasing, you may not get a job out of it but you are more likely to if you do – also the free snacks are a bonus for anyone, introverted or not!

If you would like to take Zoe’s advice and make the most of networking opportunities available to you, why not sign up now for Tuesday night’s CCCF collaboration with Creative Edinburgh – Talking Heads: Natural Born Networkers? It’s a chance to hear from, and chat with, creative practitioners from a variety of disciplines who are keen to support students to start growing their network.

Picture CC0 by Pexels on Pixabay

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