Networking opportunities at university
Hi, I’m Izzy, a third-year Broadcast Media Technologies student at LBU. I have had the opportunity to experience a variety of different work placements and connect with different industry professionals throughout my time at Leeds Beckett. In this blog I’ll be sharing my stories about how the networking opportunities at Beckett can help to enhance your cv and employment options after uni.
Employability was one of the main reasons why I chose to study at Leeds Beckett University.
When choosing to study at Beckett, I noticed that my course was advertised online as having great links to the industry which really appealed to me. During the Open Day I was shown examples of past students work and the opportunities they got to experience at uni. Their industry experience had not only helped them to develop great links within our career field but also provided them with confidence to put themselves forward for jobs after they graduated. Now having studied at Beckett myself, I can say that I’ve had very similar rewarding experiences and I’m here to share them along with some tips, so that you can make the most of your time at LBU too.
Get to know the people on your course
The first opportunity that Leeds Beckett provided me with was networking at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards (ARIAs). This was during my first year and only a month into studying too, which was great to have opportunities available from the get-go. Not only did this experience teach me skills crucial to my course, but it also allowed me to work with the second and third year students. Getting to know people in the years above is great practice for networking as it’s an opportunity to practice your people skills and also to learn from those students too. You may be nervous during your first year of uni and no one understands this better than the people who were in the exact same situation one or two previously! Working this event led to them giving me advice and helping me through the event so that I could be as professional as possible. It’s also useful to know people who are about to enter the same career field as you, as they may find graduate schemes and jobs to recommend to you once you graduate.
Top tip: make friends with people in the years above you
Talk with industry professionals
Taking every opportunity that you’re presented with at university is important, as it can lead to even more down the line and Leeds Beckett provides you with so many. As a result of working the ARIAs, my lecturers recommended me for a paid role working as a Location Assistant on the set of the tv show ‘Shop Smart, Save Money’. Not every role is a paid one, but it’s still good to work volunteer events as they all make you more employable and can be added to your cv. This experience taught me how to work as part of a team and respect the hierarchy of production which is crucial to my career field. It also meant I got to interact with industry professionals and learn from them. From this, I was able to make my mark and put a face to my name. This means if I apply for a job and any of these professionals are on the hiring committee, remembering a positive interaction with me could be the deciding factor. Placements aren’t just about getting experience; it’s about getting to know the people in your industry too.
Top tip: talk to everyone you can, at every opportunity you're given
A little goes a long way
Sometimes, working one event can lead to more opportunities down the line. After representing Leeds Beckett at Leeds Fest (all possible because of my university links), BBC Introducing contacted my lecturer to organise filming in the University studios. They had remembered my name and my hard work and decided they wanted to continue working with me on other projects. This was because I made sure to interact with every member on the BBC team, especially the people higher-up. Even if it’s just grabbing them a cup of coffee without them asking, the attentiveness can be key to securing future opportunities. Do the small tasks no one thinks about and make their day easier. They’ll remember you for how stress-free you made their day, and those positive associations are great to curate with professionals!
Top tip: take initiative when given an opportunity and show dedication to any task big or small
LinkedIn is your friend
If you haven’t got a LinkedIn yet, make one. Then, after every event or job you work, connect with the people who also worked it and you interacted with. It can be someone who was part of your team or someone you passed in the hallway and said hi to. This is something that I always do and I’ve found that having more connections on LinkedIn looks good to employers as it shows you’re personable. Beyond that, if there’s a particular company you want to work for, connect with people who already work there. If you feel up to it, drop these links a message to say hi because – once again – if you put a face to a name and show you’re outgoing and willing to reach out, they’ll remember you during applications. For example, I used LinkedIn to find a studio I really wanted to work for and dropped the director a message asking to interview them for tips and advice (which they agreed to). This worked out great as I’ve just applied for an open position at their company and was able to email the director once again to let them know and solidify that relationship.
Top tip: build connections and use tools like LinkedIn to keep them
Leeds Beckett has provided me with so many opportunities to grow my network and prepare me for life in the industry. When it comes to networking my main piece of advice is just talk to everyone and do it with a smile on your face. Create that positive association, as you never know where or from whom your next opportunity will come from. Being outgoing and personable is key to people feeling like they can reach out to you. It’s never too early to start building links so utilise the internet and message professionals to learn from there. Remember that your lecturers and people within the university are also a huge resource when it comes to networking. Use your links to your advantage, get their advice and start creating your network.
Hi, I'm Izzy and I'm a first year studying Broadcast Media Technologies. In my spare time, I'm an avid writer and photographer but I also love just kicking back and watching rubbish films with my mates.