It’s the start of the year, and for many university students this will be their final year of study. There’s classes and exams to think about, and those are important. But the students who are going to be really successful will already be thinking about the jobs they want to do when the study is all done.

One of the best things that anyone can do to be ready to get a job quickly is to start building their networks. And if you haven’t already started, now is the perfect time to do so.

DCS Technical and the RACI have published materials about building your network. There’s a great flyer summarising the points, and other advice on the DCS Technical website.

However, while there are some students out there who know exactly what they want to do, there are plenty more who really aren’t sure. They don’t know what type of job they want, nor what type of organisation that they want to work for.

This is yet another area where networking can be extremely valuable. It’s an opportunity to get out there and seek the wisdom of people who have trodden the paths ahead of you.

So consider asking your new contact something from the following:

  • What is your favourite part of your job?
  • What has been your favourite job?
  • What advice would you give to someone setting out in their career?
  • What type of workplace do you like best: large/small, academia/government/industry?
  • How did you get into your area of work?
  • What is it [company] like as an employer?
  • What do you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

It’s a double benefit. It gives you something safe and easy to talk about when you meet someone in a networking setting, and it gives you information to help you decide what it is that you want.


I publish a (semi) regular column on the DCS Technical website and facebook page, and various social media. The RACI Young Chemists group has also created a YouTube channel for career advice videos. Get involved. Your network is your greatest opportunity to advance your career.