Networking for Novices

ImageNetworking for Novices…

However daunting networking can seem, it is useful to remember that there are more positive reasons to network than not.

Successful networking will help you to; find out about your sector and employers within it, identify new trends and developments,  as well as build your awareness of opportunities and jobs.   If you are not actively networking during your studies, you are potentially putting yourself at a disadvantage for when you graduate.

Networking put simply, is a group of contacts and acquaintances that help you in a way that is mutually beneficial.You network all the time without knowing it.  For example, how often have you asked your family and friends for advice, information or support recently?

Not sure who is in your current network?

Mapping your network is great way to identify your current contacts and will help you become more focused on your professional network. The University of Arts London has a great resource on their careers-creative-living website that will help you to identify your current network and spot any gaps; http://www.careers-creative-living.co.uk/images/resources/new_community_map.pdf

Want to develop your network?

There are many ways to develop your network, from online social media, joining professional groups and organisations, to face to face opportunities such as the Glasgow based creative network, Creative Banter: http://www.businessbanter.co.uk/inside-the-business-banter/specialevents/creative-banter.htm

However you choose to develop your network there are some golden rules to follow to ensure that you build a great reputation.

  • Set a goal for networking: by setting a reachable goal (i.e. professionals you would like to meet, sectors you would like to find out about etc.) it will help you to focus you networking activities.
  • Be professional at all times: It is really easy to create a bad reputation and really hard to lose it. Be professional at all times, avoid gossip and don’t bad mouth anyone! The creative industries can be a small place, being negative and unprofessional will just reflect badly on you.
  • Be confident don’t under sell yourself.  Practice a conversation opener and pitch and make sure that you don’t fall into the habit of downplaying your skills or abilities.
  • Be friendly to everyone: Treat everyone as an equal, be open and approachable. You never know who you may be speaking to and remember not all employers wear suits.  Smile and be aware of your body language if networking at an event- be open.
  • Don’t be too pushy and share: when you are new to networking it can be easy to focus on just what you want to gain from networking. Don’t over sell yourself or just talk about you, remember a network should be mutually supportive. Be interested in others and build relationships first. Offer referrals when you can and share your knowledge. The best networkers believe in ‘givers gain’ in other words, what goes around comes around.
  • At events and online give others opportunities to speak and share: Give people a chance to talk and listen to them carefully. Make people feel important by asking lots of questions and be interested in what they have to say. Keep the conversations light and friendly. Not sure how to start a conversation, remember to ask open questions, such as:
  • How did you get into…?
  • How/why did you decide to pursue this career?
  • How did you find work?
  • What would you advise me to do?
  • What do you like most/least about what you do? What are the challenges?
  • What personal abilities are important in this career?
  • What skills are essential (technical and personal) and why?
  • How can I find work experience?
  • If you could do anything differently in your career preparation what would you do?
  • Can you recommend sources for more information?
  • What advice would you give to anyone starting out these days?
  • Take notes and follow up on any activities: Swap business cards and take notes on who you meet and what they do, as it can be a great way of opening a conversation when you next meet them. If you say you will contact them at a later date then do so, don’t let a contact become cold because you have neglected to follow up on the discussion.

Networking in a professional context should be supportive, informative and help you to enter your chosen career. To get started check out the following links;

Visual Practice Networks

A-N’s Artist Talking http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking

Artquest’s Artelier http://www.artquest-artelier.com/

Central station http://www.thisiscentralstation.com/

Design Networks

(re) Design http://www.redesign.org/

AIGA http://www.aiga.org/

Creative Industries Network: http://www.creative-cin.co.uk/

Architecture Networks

Access-A+DS http://www.ads.org.uk/access

Architecture Centre Network http://archiecturecentre.net/docs/home/

World Changing http://www.worldchanging.com/community/

Want to find out more about networking email careers@gsa.ac.uk for the companion handout and come along to the Networking for novice’s event Wednesday 3rd October 2012 4-5pm Building 10 on the campus map.( see about GSAcareers)

Thank you to Sean Black for use of the image

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Writing CV’s and Applications.

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Many job seekers find writing a CV or application perplexing.

What are employers looking for exactly? How do my experiences match the job? How do I deal with the fact that I have no work experience?  I don’t think I have any skills?  I am not sure where to start can you help??…. are all questions that GSAcareers have been asked by students, often just as a job deadline is a approaching and the task of writing great CV seems really challenging.

The key to success in writing fantastic CV’s and applications is simple… its preparation!

Benjamin Franklin famously said ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ which is so true when it comes to writing a great CV or application.  If you undertake careful research at the start of an application process and have a clear idea of what the employer is looking for and know how your skills and experiences can match to the opportunity, you will find writing a CV or application will become a much more straight forward process.

Getting prepared…

Identifying your skills …Start by recording  all your experiences and activities such as; your learning, previous part time/full time work, volunteering, competitions, awards,  achievements,  social groups and clubs, enterprising activities, mentoring, placements and work experience. Reflect and record the types of skills, responsibilities and task you developed or applied during those experiences. This is often when job seekers struggle and become unsure about how to identify or articulate their skills. Make sure that you help yourself at this stage by doing some research on job descriptions and career profiles so that you  become familiar with a range of skills and competencies associated with different tasks and activities.  Prospects http://www.prospects.ac.uk   has a great range of job descriptions available and provides an excellent source for skill /aptitude descriptions.  Also see sector websites on the ‘links’ page of this blog.

If you have limited or no work experience, focus on you learning experiences and identify projects and activities undertaken through your GSA course that can help you evidence your abilities.

Research the opportunity and employer…Do your homework on the position that you are applying to.  Read all you can about the vacancy advertised. Search on the company’s website to gain a sense of the business/organisation and its work. Research similar positions, to identify there skills and experience requirements.  Sector websites (see the links page on this blog) and industry magazines can also help you to identify professional skills and types of experience required by the industry. Record all the details that you can, as this will help you to target effectively within your application.

Match your skills, experience and abilities to the opportunity …Think about all the skills, experience, interests that you have to date, ask yourself; what skills directly match the employers wants? What experiences can be used to evidence these skills? What additional experiences might the employer consider really interesting? and what other transferable skills do I have that match the employer’s needs?

Spend some time matching and targeting your skills and experiences to the job requirements. Never leave employers guessing about the relevance of your experiences. Employers may not automatically know what skills you have achieved by studying at GSA,  or undertaking a particular project, or a past work experience. Make sure that your CV and applications highlight your suitability for the job, through positive descriptions,  well evidenced skills and concise writing.   For information on writing in a positive way and using power words within CV’s and applications see Prospects: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/job_applications_power_words.htm

Sources of Further Information:

CV writing

See Careers Creative Living; http://www.careers-creative-living.co.uk  for further advice on CV building for creative people within the ‘moving on’ section.

For further advice on writing a great CV see:  http://prospects.ac.uk/cvs.htm

Job Applications

For further advice on writing a great job application see:  http://prospects.ac.uk/job_applications_personal_statements.htm

Disclosing a Disability

See Directgov : http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/Employmentsupport/LookingForWork/DG_4000219

Disability Toolkits: http://www.disabilitytoolkits.ac.uk/students/DisclosingDisability.pdf

International Perspective

Applying for roles aboard, don’t forget that different countries may have slightly different approach to CV and applications see: Prospects country profiles for information and further advice: http://www.propsects.ac.uk/country_profiles.htm

International student and not sure how your qualifications translate into the UK market? Naric  http://www.naric.org.uk

International student and not sure about working in the UK during your studies: UKCISA http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/working_during.php

Finally use all the advice and support available to you:  The GSACareers is here to help you with all your career needs. You can use the service at any point of your studies  If you are unsure about any aspect of  CV or applications approach, please seek further  advice at;   careers@gsa.ac.uk  0141 353 4482  and drop into career workshops details found on:

GSACAREERSERVICE              @GSACAREERS

Finding Part Time Work in Glasgow

Welcome to the first GSA careers blog. Image

Each month GSAcareers will focus on one specific area of creative professional practice. Exploring each topic in depth, you will benefit from loads of advice and information on how to develop great career skills and knowledge to help you establish a professional approach to your career.

This month we are focusing on finding part-time work.

Students often combine their studies with working part-time. Undertaking a part-time role can offer many benefits; from developing your social and professional networks, gaining new skills and aptitudes to earning money to support you and your studies.

At GSA, students find work in the retail, service and hospitality sectors mainly around the city centre and tend to work on average between 7-15 hours a week. Part-time opportunities are always highly sought after and competitive, even more so now, due to the current economic climate. So, if you are looking for work you will need to be focused and ready to act as soon as a job becomes available.  Our top 5 tips will help you find and win the perfect part-time role.

1.Know what you want to do…It might sound obvious, however spending some time thinking about the type of skills, motivations and  interests that you have can really help you narrow down the type of work you would like to find. Once you establish this, spend some time researching the market; what skills and experiences are your chosen employers looking for? How do you match up to employer’s needs?  Where do your chosen employers usually recruit from? For further information see: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/secret-focusing-your-job-search/

2. Get your CV and application approach ready…Poorly presented CV’s and applications will not get you an interview.  Spend time making sure that your CV is targeted and appropriate for each employer you are applying to. If you are new to the UK, check that your CV is suitable for the UK market.  See Prospects for further advice:  http://www.prospects.ac.uk/cvs.htm

3. Be targeted…This point can’t be stressed enough– stay targeted and focused on your job goal.   This will help you to search in all the right places for jobs that you really want, as well as ensuring that your CV and approach will match what the employer is looking for.  If you are unsure of how to get started, follow this link: http://tiny.cc/dpk5jw

4.Job hunt effectively…You should always deploy more than one approach to job hunting. Think: online, speculative approaches, local and national newspapers, recruitment companies, volunteering and social media.  And don’t forget to let your network of friends, family and colleagues know that you are looking for a job. For more tips on job hunting see:   http://tiny.cc/qqk5jw

5.Still no joy?... If you are struggling to get interviews then it may be time to review your approach. It might be as simple as changing the way you are looking for work or making small changes to how you present your CV or application.  It is a challenging market out there and it might take you longer to secure a role- don’t become de-motivated, speak to your Careers Adviser and get your approach and CV checked. For great tips on how to stay motivated see: http://tiny.cc/prk5jw

For further information and links, contact the Careers Service at careers@gsa.ac.uk , and ask for a copy of  the companion handout, GSACareers Finding Part- time work.

Useful Links:

International Student and working in the UK: UKCISA advice: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/working_during.php

Prospects CV writing and applications: http://prospects.ac.uk/job_application_advice.htm

National minimum wage: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Employees/TheNationalMinimumWage/DG_10027201

National Insurance number:http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/BeginnersGuideToTax/NationalInsurance/IntroductiontoNationalInsurance/DG_190057