How to network well

The Creative Industries are built on networking and doing this well can help you to get your career started and to develop it further.

The idea is to build up a network of contacts that you can call on for help, advice and jobs.

You have to know why you are networking, so that you can work out who to approach and what you need to know. The benefit of meeting someone might not be immediately obvious, but over time you will increase your knowledge of the industry you want to work in and make useful contacts.

Think about:

  • people you know already (relatives, family friends, colleagues) and who they could introduce you to
  • people you don’t know but could easily contact in a company or from your social circle
  • people (or types of people) that you don’t know but who, with some effort and initiative, you could contact – producers, journalists, photographers, etc. – and professionals in your areas of interest.

Organise your contacts into an easy-to-maintain system, such as an online or offline address book or notebook, including the following information:

  • Name
  • Job/role
  • Work details - company, address, phone, mobile, email, website 
  • Notes on the company - recent and future jobs, press coverage etc.
  • How/when you met and what you discussed
  • Mutual friends/acquaintances
  • Ideas for how you could work with them
  • Timeframe to follow up after meeting/talking

Keep up with developing and maintaining contacts:

  • Go to relevant talks, festivals, events and tweetups and collect potentially useful business cards
  • Add contacts on LinkedIn and similar sites and join relevant LinkedIn groups
  • Join a professional group or trade association representing your area of interest
  • Make new contacts on any training courses you go on, and ask fellow participants and tutors about their work and contacts

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