GUEST BLOG POST by Andy Lopata
Christmas is coming and with it comes the same stilted conversation at family events all over the UK and beyond.
“So, how’s Uni?”
“Yes, it’s fine”
“Been to lots of parties?”
“Yes a few.”
And it’s over. In a matter of seconds we’ve got over that tricky obstacle of talking about our careers with people in our personal life. We can relax and move onto much safer, and more mundane, topics.
What a wasted opportunity! Why is it that British people are so reticent to speak about our studies, our careers or our future with friends and family? We’re not alone in that for sure but, in my experience, we’re among the least likely people in the world to mix our professional and personal lives.
Building a network around you can really help drive your career forward. Regular statistics have shown that around 70% of jobs are landed through networking and who is going to look after your interests more than your family?
How much do you actually know about what all your aunts and uncles, cousins or anyone else who regularly turns up at the Christmas dinner table do? On more than one occasion, someone in one of my workshops has recognised a family member who has been perfectly placed to make key connections for their business or career, but they have never asked. Sometimes this is because they had simply failed to make the association but also the cultural pressure to look strong and show that we are equipped to find our own way, holds us back when we should be sharing experiences and asking for help.
More and more, employers are looking for graduates who have some kind of experience, whether it’s a year-long internship or a summer placement and until you talk to your family about the sort of thing you are looking for, you will never know if someone is able and willing to help you with introductions.
So when someone asks you this Christmas “How’s Uni?” don’t give a one word answer. Tell them about what you’ve been doing and the things you might be interested in when you graduate and you never know, Christmas may bring more than the ubiquitous Christmas jumper.
Labelled ‘one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists’ by The Financial Times, Andy Lopata is the author of three books on networking and referrals and is an internationally renowned speaker on the subject.