how to get started with networking

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Networking is about building connections that can help you land your dream job.

Finding work through job advertisements can be effective but also limited, as many jobs are not advertised. A lot of people find out about job opportunities by approaching and speaking to family members, friends, and acquaintances.

Here are some ways you could grow your network.

What is networking?

Networking is like building a web of connections, where you meet and get to know people who can help you in your career or personal goals. It's about forming relationships, sharing ideas, and supporting each other. Whether it's chatting with someone at an event, connecting on social media, or joining professional groups, networking can open doors to opportunities and new experiences.


Why is networking important?

Networking is important because it allows you to connect with others and potential opportunities. By connecting with others, you can gain valuable advice and sometimes even access job openings that aren't advertised publicly. If you’re struggling to get your foot in the door, letting others know that you are looking for work can often connect you to opportunities that you may not have known about otherwise.

Is networking all about finding a job?

While finding a job is a common reason for networking, it's not the only purpose. Networking is also important because it allows you to learn from others' experiences and perspectives. You can gain valuable insights, avoid common mistakes, and discover new ways to reach your work or career goals. So, while job hunting may be a part of it, networking is ultimately about creating a supportive network that can help you grow both personally and professionally.

How to network in 7 easy steps

1. Understand what you’re looking for

Start by having a clear understanding of the type of opportunity you’re looking for. Is it part-time paid work in the holidays? A job in a specific industry? An internship? Insight into what a certain job is actually like? The first question a potential contact will ask you is what it is you’re looking for, so make sure you’re prepared.

2. Create a list of people you know

List all the people you currently know in all the different areas of your life such as:

  • family
  • friends
  • Elders
  • hobbies
  • sports clubs
  • community organisations
  • teachers


Is there anyone else you can think of who might be a good person to chat to about career options?
Do any of your friends have parents in jobs or industries you’re interested in?

3. Write down some questions or discussion points

Before contacting prospective connections, it can help to write down the questions you may like to ask them. This can help you drive the conversation, maintain confidence, and help you remember the topics that you’d like to discuss during the interaction.

Questions you can ask include:

  • asking about their own career journey
  • asking them about the key skills and experience people need to succeed in that field
  • what types of roles or organisations you could look into.


All of this shows you’re interested and that you are keen to learn more.

They may ask you questions about yourself too, so be prepared and think about some things you might like to share about yourself including previous job experiences.

4. Let people know you're looking

The thought of reaching out to people you don’t know and asking them for something in return can be daunting, but give it a go! You will be surprised by how open and willing people are to help, as everyone has experienced being new to their career at some point.

Tell them the type of work you want to do, what industry, or even a specific company if you have selected one. Ask them if they know anyone in these areas and if they would be prepared to introduce you. You may be pleasantly surprised when you get a call from someone whose relative is the manager of your target company!

5. Search your online networks

Think about your online social network – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, consider starting one to grow your network. If you explore your connections on these sites, you can often find that they may have connections that could be helpful to you. Check out our tips on how to network on LinkedIn for more information.

The best way to make use of these connections is to contact them directly. Tell them what you’re doing and explain that you noticed they listed a certain person or company among their connections, and that you would very much appreciate an introduction.

6. Attend networking events

Attending networking events can be incredibly beneficial for expanding your professional circle and finding new opportunities. These events can allow you to connect with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and learn from others' experiences. Whether it's industry conferences, career fairs, workshops, or social mixers, networking events offer a chance to make meaningful connections that can advance your career. For example, job fairs bring together employers and job seekers, while industry conferences provide insights into the latest trends and developments in your field. By actively participating in these events, you can broaden your network, gain valuable knowledge, and even uncover potential job leads.

7. Follow up and stay in contact

Following up and staying in contact is vital for maintaining and strengthening the connections you've made. Whether you've met someone at an event, connected online, or had a coffee chat, reaching out to express gratitude and interest in maintaining that connection is key to a successful networking relationship. Keep the conversation alive by sharing relevant updates, articles, or job opportunities, and offering support whenever possible as this also demonstrates your commitment to maintaining a meaningful connection.

Remember, it’s OK to reach out for support from others. A lot of people got to where they are in their careers through opportunities that were provided by others. Just remember to be respectful of people’s time and appreciative of their support - you never know when your professional paths will cross again.



Get support

Getting support with networking can make the process much easier and more effective. Consider reaching out to mentors, joining networking groups or workshops, or seeking guidance from professionals in your field to gain valuable insights and support along the way. Some education providers also offer free mentorship programs to their students. If you’re looking to connect with a mentor to support you in finding or staying in work, the headspace Career Mentoring Service can help.


headspace Career Mentoring Service


For more information, find your nearest headspace centre or for online and telephone support, visit eheadspace.

The headspace Content Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website. 

Last reviewed June 2024.

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