This week UTS careers hosted an event called “You get paid to do whaaat?!”, a networking event that introduced Communications Students to professionals in a variety of fields that all have a background in Communications.
This personally for me was an amazing idea because, while I know where I want to be in the future, and what kind of work I want to do, I don’t actually know how to get there. I also have most of my experience in social media, and while I do enjoy it, it’s not something I can see myself doing long term.
Like I said above, there was a variety of people within the communications degree, with vastly different experiences getting to where they were currently. There were people working in journalism, some working in creative and Web design, and other working in production.
There were two main parts of the night – ‘speed networking’ as they called it, where each guest (there was about 7 different people, all with different roles and backgrounds), and they each had 7 minutes (to the second ) to answer our groups questions, and tell us a bit about their experiences. While this was good for me, as I had different questions for each of them, I did find that there were only about two or three other people asking questions. And while I didn’t get to ask all of the questions I had, I did feel a bit awkward being one of the few people asking questions – but hey, that’s how you get yourself to be know, right?
And even though I wasn’t able to ask all the questions I wanted to, there was time afterwards in the ‘general networking’ part of the night. This was when we were free to go around and talk with the speakers of the night and other comms students (which is always important for networking). I felt that the way this was set out was done very nicely, as I had questions that I wouldn’t have thought to ask if it were for the previous part of the night.
There were many valuable things I gained from this evening, from the fact that specialising in certain industries is a great thing, especially if one gains transferable skills, to what people are actually looking for in a portfolio, but the most valuable thing I learnt was how to effectively network in the communications industry.
Previous to this I thought that to network, what you needed to do most of all is get your name out there, so that people know you’re available, however I learnt tonight that there is so much more to networking. One of the speakers told us that when you network, you need to go in there with a particular goal. And it should be specific, not just to have a brief chat and give a business card, but something specific, like learn what skills people are looking for at that time. Another great piece of advice – something that I do struggle with, I have to admit, is that it is really important to make sure that people don’t just know your work, but also know your name, and even you as a person. It’s all good for a recruiter to hear that you do amazing things, but if they have a person already that does that, even if they’re not known to be as amazing as you, that person will still be more likely to be hired than you, because they know them. It’s all about getting your foot, then your face in the door.
The only problem that I had with the night was that I forgot to get contact details from the speakers. While none of them worked in areas that I personally have an interest in, I do know that it’s still a good idea to get in contact with them, as everyone pretty much knows everyone in the communications industry in Sydney, and they also are great banks of knowledge, they actually have gone to places that I might want to go, or have experienced a career path that I might take in getting to where I want to be.
Regardless of this, it was a really great night, and I’m very grateful that my uni offers things like this, and I’m so glad that I was able to attend.
Image from the UTS careers service