AXA story

Networking – be relevant, be interesting!

In October, as part of City University London's Employability Skills Programme, Resourcing Coordinator Madelyne Grette and Business Leader Graduate (and City Alumni) Bogdan Pop gave a presentation to students about the importance of networking and how to build your reputation. Sociology and Psychology student Sumayya Janmohamed was at the session and gives this advice to students.

If there is anything one should take away from this blog, it should be the above statement; be relevant, be interesting! To say that I was inspired by a networking session can sound odd, however it was the enthusiasm, and reasoning behind what networking is that inspired me to write this.

All these years, my fellow peers furrow their eyebrows when told to network because no one has actually said there is more to it than sending an email saying “it was a pleasure to meet you at the xyz event”. (If you have been in the same boat than this blog is for you).

It was only when Madelyne Grette and Bogdan Pop from AXA presented an inspiring presentation on how to network, did it actually clear the haziness of the word.

So here are my 5 top things that I took away from this:

1. What makes you, you?
Building your personal brand. What can you offer to companies? I have noticed that graduates, including myself, try to mould themselves to what the company wants, but why not be yourself? Especially being a graduate experience may be limited, but Madelyn explained that it’s ok to admit that… You show what you can bring to the table. Your unique way of thinking brings a new perspective to doing things.

2. Be aware of your online footprint
In short, all your social media can be tracked. Do not ruin your personal brand because of friends tagging you in photos on Facebook.

3. Build your online brand
How? Use LinkedIn to your advantage. Show your interests by commenting on articles that interest you, or follow companies that you share values with. This seems daunting and can get tedious but it is worth it in building your profile and connections.

4. Know your audience
LinkedIn is a professional network. Use it to your advantage. Nothing stops you from searching employers that you met at career fairs in order to build a professional relationship so sharing photos of kittens is not the best idea.

5. MAINTAIN
This is probably the most challenging tip. There’s a thin line between pestering an employer and maintaining a professional contact. Do not send a message every day, or send a long essay about yourself. Keep it relevant, keep it interesting. Find some common interests to keep conversations interesting and relevant questions. Make yourself memorable but not annoying. As a mentioned guideline, keep it to about two emails a month.

I would like to thank Madelyne and Bogdan for an inspiring presentation. If it was not for you both, I would not have published this.

Also thank you to City University London for hosting the session and to AXA for sponsoring the programme.

Read the original blog post by Sumayya. Want more information about building your employee brand? Read our advice about polishing your personal brand.