Written by Rhian Davies
About a month ago, the Cardiff Award informed me about an event called ‘Meet Your Perfect Match’, organised by the ACCA (Association of Chartered Accountants) and I immediately signed up. Although I am not currently looking for a job in South Wales, I still thought this would be a great opportunity to meet with recruiters and generally practice my networking skills.
The event itself was held in the KuKu Lounge in the Park Plaza Hotel – an absolutely lovely venue! The evening was set up as ‘speed networking’ which is just how it sounds:the same as speed dating only you’re meeting potential employers not the potential love of your life. To begin the evening, there was about half an hour of informal networking whilst everyone arrived and registered. We were given a quick speech from ACCA and then the speed networking began: the employers sat at allocated tables and the students joined them and chatted for three minutes each.
Now, three minutes sounds like a long time, but when you’re trying to find out as much information as possible, it goes so quickly. Luckily, after the formal speed networking, there was another hour of informal networking where you could catch up with people who you wanted to have a slightly longer conversation with. I found the whole evening thoroughly enjoyable,
and definitely got some inside tips about
what employers were looking for!
Two important things that I learnt at this event:
The ACCA very kindly provided us with business cards to give employers, however I had my own made beforehand. You can get business cards for very little money and having my own definitely made an impression. One employer commented that he didn’t know how he was going to remember who everyone was, but after seeing my unique card declared that he would definitely remember me now.
- Quite a few employers mentioned how often they have to network as part of their jobs. This is a valuable point, as it highlights that even the act of practicing your networking is useful because it is a skill you will be using for the rest of your career.
Networking is a lot like going to a strangers party with one friend, only to discover they’ve disappeared and you realise you’re going to have to introduce yourself to random people! Just remember: it can be daunting introducing yourself, but no-one who attends networking events is there by force, so everyone is always more than willing to talk.