Just wanted to clear up what is means by “it’s who you know” and how to get contacts (which may help you secure you a good career ect). I read of how graduates regret not using their time at University to build contacts – they look for work in the real world but they don’t know anyone that can offer employment or career building… This highlights ways on how to get (or at least how I get) contacts, and it’s up to you how you use them.
Personally, I see contacts as people that I know personally that can help me professionally. I have noticed in my years as a media student that the people that get cast as actors in student productions are friends or acquaintances, and not people that are simply interested in acting! It’s cool to be skilled, but even better when you know people who can benefit from your skills and give you experience simultaneously.
In terms of what University can offer, they often hold events with networking time before and / or after it which can be a good time to meet people – although, as someone who works as an events assistant, I find that guests usually stay within their own groups, so networking events are more of a place to get introduced to someone new through someone you know.
Jobs fairs are also handy, as I gained some very valuable contacts from talking to people (usually professionals with good networks of their own) behind the stands.
Societies are very handy also. I was a junior radio producer for VibeMedia.co in Edge Hill, which of course meant I met many other students. In particular, I met someone who was in (at the time) the third year of my course – Now she has graduated from Edge Hill and works for two radio stations in the North West which is very handy when you’re like me who runs a record label :)
Finally, let’s not forget the contacts from work (paid and voluntary). I try my best to get along with my colleagues and bosses, as I know that larger employers sometimes go on recommendations from their current staff if you know what I mean… In addition, fellow students can make great contacts; for example, my record label requires second opinions on songs, so who better to turn to than my fellow music students?
Neighbors count as contacts to – there have been times when people I know turn to the people they live with for casting choices whether they are actors or not.
I hope this has been helpful and do read up on how to use contacts to your advantage. To me, networking is quite an underrated skill for a student / graduate to possess, but used at the right time, it can seriously help you with your career!