Getting a degree isn’t enough. There, I said it.
Developing contacts is crucial when you’re starting out – meeting new people can help you create opportunities that might not be immediately apparent. Spending time volunteering at a city council’s press office as a student was probably the single most important thing that happened in my career – I just happened to know someone who knew someone. And it’s those types of relationships that help.
For students in the creative space, it’s difficult to over-state the importance of getting into the “scene” if you want to work in the industry. Several students who had conversations and developed contacts at WAcreative events have ended up with full and part-time work in the North West. Tools like Meetup.com, Eventbrite and Lanyrd make it easy to find local groups and events which are generally free to attend, provide an insight into the industries you want to work in – and give students the opportunity to meet people already working in them. That’s the critical part. Who knows where a casual conversation will lead?
Students tend to feel nervous about networking, but it’s really just a case of turning up – the people there are waiting for you to talk to them! With groups such as WAcreative, Creative Liverpool, Northern Digitals and publications like Creative Boom all being based in the North West, it’s worth signing up to a few events. And then turning up. For University of Chester students, Inside the Creative Industries and the other events taking place during Media Professionals Week involve industry contacts coming to Warrington Campus especially to meet students – ideal for making new contacts.
Graeme Goulden currently works as Senior Product Manager for Monster and founded WAcreative, a networking group for Warrington-based creatives. Graeme will be one of our industry guests for Inside the Creative Industries, next Wed 6th Feb at Warrington Campus as part of Media Professionals Week – a week of events to help students increase their chances of getting into the Creative and Media Industries after their course.