Develop your network and build your profile

An introduction to networking, building your profile and tips on how you can develop.

You already have a network. This may include your classmates and lecturers, your friends and their families, your family and your employer. Building on this so your network extends into areas of professional interest is the next step.  

Why is networking important? 

  • networking is all about showing an interest in what people do (it’s not about asking someone for a job).  It’s a great way to get a sense of what interests you and what you might be suited to by finding out about different job roles and getting insight into companies 

  • networking should be reciprocal – you can make useful contacts who might be able to help you and in turn you can help others  

  • talking to people in this way is also part of building your profile. Professional, well-informed conversations where your interest clearly comes through will make a good impression

  • you may hear about job openings 

How can you develop in this area? 

  • networking can be done face to face at meetings, events and conferences (whether these are online or in person), and online through platforms such as LinkedIn and Platform One. Online networking is a good place to start. Set up your profile on LinkedIn or Platform One as  the first step 

  • practise your networking at alumni events, employer events and careers fairs, and look for more opportunities outside University 

  • before you attend networking events take the time to do some preparation. Research the people who will be there, decide who you most want to talk to and prepare some questions to ask them 

  • practise your “elevator pitch” (a short summary of what you have to offer – like a sales pitch) to make a confident start when you meet new people 

Where to find out more 

Using social media (includes tips on how to use LinkedIn, and how to keep your online presence up to scratch by managing your digital footprint) 

Using social media to find out and stand out  

Informational interviews 

TARGETjobs - how to perfect your personal pitch

You’ll need your University of Edinburgh login to access these resources: 

Overcoming your fear of networking  

The 60 second sales pitch  

Making a positive first impression