Conversations taking place at the Meet Employers in Life Sciences event

How to network with ease

Featured image: conversations taking place at our Meet Employers in Life Sciences event, 7 March 2024, Nucleus Building, King’s Buildings

Networking is all about showing an interest in what people do; it’s not about asking someone for a job. Although the thought of networking can feel daunting, the good news is that there are approaches you can take to make networking work for you. In today’s blog, we explore the benefits of networking and describe what to do before, during and after a networking event…

Why network?

  • Stay informed of recruitment trends and roles which are in demand.
  • Hear about job vacancies (before they are even advertised) or other opportunities e.g. conferences or events.
  • Gain careers insights which can help you decide whether a career is for you and what your next steps can be.
  • Expand your network; an opportunity to make beneficial connections and a source of support.

Networking should be reciprocal – you can make useful contacts who might be able to help you and in turn, you can help others. As you begin to experience these benefits, networking becomes less intimidating!

Networking opportunities

Keep in mind that everyone you meet at university could be a useful resource at some point in your career whether it’s classmates, colleagues through part-time work or society members.

There are lots of networking opportunities at events and fairs such as our recent Meet Employers in Life Sciences event and the Creative and Cultural Careers events which took place in March. At these types of events, you can meet employers, University of Edinburgh alumni as well as other students.

Before a networking event

It can be helpful to know the format of an event, which organisations/employers are attending and at which point you have the opportunity to speak to others – so do your research. If you know in advance what you want to gain from networking conversations, it will focus your conversation and mean you are more likely to obtain the help or information you want.

Do you want:

  • To find out something specific about a person or organisation?
  • Specific tips or advice about your next steps?
  • To understand what experience would be useful in your area of interest?
  • To gain career insights or inspiration?

During a networking event – be yourself and plan your conversation

  • It might be as simple as: “Can I introduce myself?” I am (first name/surname), (year and name of degree) student at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Non-verbal communication counts – think about what your body language conveys. Remember to smile and avoid standing with crossed arms. It’s natural that you will be a little bit nervous. Keep your phone out of sight.
  • Give a bit of your background – maybe it’s some volunteering or work experience you’ve done or a particular interest you have.
  • Try to find a point of connection – why are you talking to this person in particular? This is where knowing a bit about who you might be speaking to beforehand is really helpful.
  • When you feel the conversation winding down, or want to move on to meet other people, have a key point that you want this person to remember about you.
  • Don’t forget to thank them for their time and help. Remember to get their contact details or find a way to connect (even if it’s just to add them on LinkedIn) – try to reflect back on a point from the conversation that might help them remember you too.

After the networking event

  • Make a note of who you spoke with and at least one memorable point about them or what you discussed.

Building your network can also be developed from a distance…

As a University of Edinburgh student, you can take advantage of the free networking opportunities by Platform One, the University’s online community of Edinburgh alumni, staff and students. You can find friendly people on Platform One willing to help you, to answer your questions and share their experiences with you. Joining Platform One is straightforward – you can view a series of handy “how to” video guides which cover topics such as how to create a profile, sign in, search for someone and send a message using this link.

After reading this blog, hopefully you’ll feel more equipped to network. If you would like to explore networking in more depth, we have a range of resources on the Careers Service website.

For further tips on creating an effective LinkedIn profile, watch our “Get the most out of LinkedIn” video.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of networking, you’re welcome to attend our information and advice drop-ins. These are offered online and on campus – no need to book! View this schedule to find a session that suits you: information and advice drop-ins

Many events are taking place, online and in-person. Check out the events section of MyCareerHub to see upcoming events.


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