Making connections with alumni and professionals working in the fields you are interested in is a hugely beneficial way of getting the information and insight you need to succeed.
Potential employers wish to see that you understand the area of work that you’re applying for and can demonstrate knowledge beyond what is written on their website. Relevant work experience is even more compelling and graduates that can show they have the ethos, skills and passion to match the organisation have a better chance of recruitment. For you, having the chance to find out more about an area or organisation before committing to that career path is also invaluable.
Making useful connections can be daunting however and often you might not know where to start or what is seen as an acceptable approach or appropriate question. What networks does the University have with alumni and professionals that you can make use of?
Speak to us in Careers if you want to know more about the support, information and opportunities on offer to help you build skill and confidence in speaking to those in your chosen field, how to make the most of interactions, what willing contacts may have to offer and how to maintain any new relationships.
Make connections, take opportunities!
Attending Careers events (such as employer presentations and recruitment fairs) is a great way of networking on campus. Keep a look out for what's coming up this term - details are on our events page. Our major careers fairs are held in the autumn term, while in the spring and summer terms Careers, together with YUSU, GSA and the Alumni Office, hosts Careers in... events - a chance to network with professionals (many of whom are York alumni) working in a variety of job sectors. And each term you can expect to find employers on campus, offering skills sessions or giving presentations. All these events give you the chance to network and make useful connections.
You can also network with York alumni via our York profiles and mentors. You can search by academic department, country, job sector and year of graduation, and read about alumni work. Many are also available to contact via email, so you have the opportunity to ask further questions.
Social media is constantly developing and is used increasingly to build networks and find information about careers and employment. The range of social media tools includes Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - don't wait until you graduate to set up your LinkedIn profile. For more help with this, see the Successful networking information sheet (see below), LinkedIn's videos for students and a very helpful series of screencasts from University of Leeds' Careers Centre on creating an effective LinkedIn profile and using LinkedIn in your job search. There's also a useful resource covering how to write the best LinkedIn profile - LinkedIn Profile Optimization (PDF , 22,580kb).
Alternatively, come and talk to us in Careers and Placements.
See also the other titles in our wide range of information sheets, covering job sectors, making applications & going for interviews, work experience, and career planning.