• To establish relationships with people in your field, or the field you want to be in
  • To exchange information and ideas with these people about jobs, organisations and employment trends.

Overall, you are aiming to make yourself memorable to people so that when they know of a job, they think of you and make contact.

  • Be clear about what you want to say. Know your interests and skills.
  • Practise introducing yourself concisely and being an attentive listener.
  • Think about your career aspirations but remember: your priority is to figure out what skills you can offer your contact, not what they can do for you initially.

In a planned one-to-one meeting with a contact, here are suggested topic ideas to discuss:

  • current industry trends
  • their organisation’s culture
  • career structure/opportunities in the profession/company and ways you can access those opportunities
  • skills valued by that field of work and which of your skills match those
  • how that person entered into the field
  • useful professional publications and other useful contacts
  • organisations in the field that are expanding

If you want to make a good impression, persistence and enthusiasm are vital. If people can see how determined you are to succeed, they might be more inclined to support you. 

Follow up leads and meetings with short emails to maintain new relationships.

Everyone you know is a potentially valuable contact, even if it’s not obvious at first. Begin by listing:

  • friends and acquaintances
  • fellow students
  • work colleagues – past and present
  • clubs, sporting and other contacts with mutual interests
  • teachers, tutors and lecturers.

Think about how those people are connected to your chosen industry, and how you can engage with them. The list will grow once you start talking to people.

You can then grow your network by engaging with:

  • professional associations
  • a professional networking site like LinkedIn
  • conferences, workshops and seminars relevant to your chosen industry
  • voluntary, temporary or casual work – wherever possible, so you can meet people
  • Work Integrated Learning or other work experience
  • RMIT careers events and introducing yourself to employers and alumni.
  • RMIT Alumni (you’re a member as soon as you graduate)

Websites such as LinkedIn for networking and social media, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, can be leveraged to improve your professional profile.

If you haven’t done this before, some examples include:

  • cross-linking a blog on LinkedIn to your Facebook and Twitter
  • posting a picture on Instagram of yourself attending a conference
  • including a link to your blog on your Facebook page.

Use social media to build ways for people to notice your work, and general career-related activities.

Be strategic. See what’s out there, regularly check your online profiles and search for your own name to see how employers will perceive you online. 

Use social media to build ways for people to notice your work, and general career-related activities.

Be strategic. See what’s out there, regularly check your online profiles and search for your own name to see how employers will perceive you online.

It’s a good idea to do a quick clean-up of your profiles before job seeking. Adjust your privacy settings as necessary. Taking an active approach to your online presence is even better.

  • Make sure there’s more good content to find than bad.
  • Imagine someone is interested in potentially employing you, so they search for you online.  Think about what you would like them to see, and start building that content now.
  • Consistently post interesting and relevant content that’s in line with your professional aspirations. This is the quickest way to improve your online persona.
  • Be aware of your online connections – they can say great things about your awareness of your field.
  • Maintain and remain active on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Untag yourself in pictures you don’t want to be tagged in.
  • If you find a photo you don’t want to appear online, ask for it to be removed.
  • If you can’t get an item taken down, contact the site administrators and request they remove it.
  • Use a site such as BrandYourself to help clean up your search results.

The benefits of being on social network sites far outweigh the downsides, whether you’re actively job-hunting or you just want to remain connected. But remember that your online profile makes it very easy for potential employers to ‘profile’ you and preliminarily screen you in or out for a job.

  1. Sharing too much personal information can be hazardous to your career. If you are using an online site for professional networking purposes, you will be subjected to biases or screen outs before anyone even says ‘hello’ to you by telling them personal details.  For example, adding your birth date immediately alerts everyone to your age.  While age discrimination is illegal, it still happens.
  2. Make sure that any links between social media accounts lead to info that is professional. For example, you can now connect your Twitter account to LinkedIn so consider the types of Tweets you post before adding this feature to your LinkedIn profile. Again, it only takes a minute for a potential employer to click over to your Twitter account to see what types of things you rattle on about (not to mention how much of your day you spend doing it).
  3. Consider what you enter in your LinkedIn status updates. Some people enter information about things they are working on while others enter more casual content. Whatever you post, just keep in mind that everyone in your network will most likely see it.

Professional networking sites

Want to make a connection with people in your future profession? 

Professional associations often assist students and graduates with career planning and job seeking. 

Being active in a professional association not only helps you with your career planning and job seeking, but it also shows the employer about the type of person you are. For example, attending events, conferences or professional development opportunities within your association can show an employer that you have particular attributes such as:

  • motivation, passion, drive and enthusiasm
  • willingness to learn
  • initiative and enterprise
  • self-management.

► See the full list of 230 professional associations