Networking is a key component of our working lives, but for many it can feel like a daunting prospect.
The benefits of networking are widespread, from building business contacts to growing your confidence, creating long lasting connections, and advancing your career. It’s never too soon to start networking and you never know what doors it could open for you.
Graduates Hannah and Amelia have both started networking and recently went to an event organised by local networking group, Cardiff Young Professionals. They tell us how they found it and give some helpful tips to overcome those initial nerves.
“Having heard about Cardiff Young Professionals (CYP) Network through word of mouth, I was glad that I took the plunge and attended this amazing opportunity where I was able to network with like-minded individuals.
It was a chance to really expand my network around Cardiff whilst also learning about different businesses and understanding other job roles.
Each of the CYP networking events is hosted in a different location and this one happened to be at Lo Lounge in Cardiff Bay. It made for a fantastic venue, and I’ve now found a beautiful place to enjoy the sunshine in the bay!
It was great to learn that CYP were able to raise £250 for Dreams and Wishes and 2wish charities.
Networking has been an important part of my professional development since my Undergraduate Degree where I’d make the most out of every opportunity provided.
Last year I also joined Women in Banking and Finance (WBIF) Network with the colleague network whilst I was on placement with Principality Building Society. This was a great experience and since then, I have attended subsequent events, hearing from professionals across Cardiff and Bristol.
My advice to anyone who feels nervous about networking would be to just be yourself and remember everyone there is in the same boat as you. Make sure to speak to as many people as possible as you never know who you may come across!
I’m looking forward to attending the next events with CYP and WBIF and to continuing to expand my network.” – Hannah Mallen, Technology Venture Investment Graduate, Development Bank of Wales.
“I thought that the Cardiff Young Professionals event was a great way to meet new people in Cardiff from lots of different backgrounds. It was a more informal environment than other networking events I have been to, with drinks and a BBQ. I think that this made the atmosphere a lot more relaxed and easier to meet and talk to new people.
There was also a fun and friendly ice breaker (which wasn’t cringey like most ice breakers!). Everyone was given a card from a deck, and you had to find your partner, unfortunately I didn’t find my partner, but I did manage to find both cards either side of me.
This was a great conversation starter, and I am looking forward to seeing the people I met again next month along with meeting some new people!
If you are new to networking or feel nervous about starting, I would recommend taking a friend with you so you already know someone in the room.
From experience, it also gets a lot easier the more you attend, especially as you start to know more people who can then introduce you to their connections as well.” – Amelia Moore, Risk Graduate, Development Bank of Wales.
There are a huge range of different types of networking groups available, as well a mixture of online and in-person events so don’t be afraid to dip your toe in to a variety of them to find what suits you best and where you feel most comfortable.