By Louise Loxton - Head of Department, Employer Relationships

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“Partnerships That Work” building & maintaining amazing (working) relationships

Your weekly blog on the whats, whys and hows of amazing Employability.

In this article, we will be looking at the people you will be meeting on your employability journey and how you can maximise and sustain the quality of the relationships you will have with them. Think of them as your ‘Employability Support Crew’: 

Your Employability Support Crew

At your place of study, you will regularly see tutors and curriculum staff, but you also have the chance to speak to other people who can provide support, such as Employability & Partnership Coordinators, Placement Officers, Careers advisors and Student Mentors. They can all give you valuable advice and guidance on different aspects of employability, or on improving your skills and abilities. They can also signpost you to where you can get further support, if you need it.

Make an effort to engage with these people, listen to what they tell you, make notes and report back to them later on how you have used what you have learned. If you have an appointment, come prepared and with questions of your own. Remember to thank the person for their help; a short email is a nice idea if you have their contact details. Good manners cost nothing. This kind of positive approach will stand you in good stead later in your working life. 

If you have a part-time job or are doing some work experience, you will meet colleagues, line managers, customers and/or service users. Create a ‘Linked In’ profile and make sure you invite any professional contacts to join your network. Attend events at your place of work, make an effort to get to know people and ask them about their work; people usually like talking about themselves (!). Further down the line in your career, these contacts could be a useful resource for you. 

Find a mentor

A mentor is someone who gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person, over a period of time. It is a good idea to find a mentor within the sector you would like to work in, but you can also look for someone at the company or organisation where you do your work experience or paid job.

Think about a professional person who can give you advice on themes such as goal-setting, further qualifications, networking and skills development. You could also find a mentor via any hobbies or interests you have, such as other club members or professionals who run associations you belong to. 

Suggest a meet-up once a month and set some objectives for the meeting so that you can report back on what you have achieved towards your goals the next time you meet. In time, you too could become a mentor and share your journey with someone just starting out on theirs!

And finally…

We are stronger together. Invest time in building a network of supportive people and people you know in your chosen career sector. Attend networking events and careers fairs, join ‘Linked In’, find a mentor and meet with them regularly. Take notes and listen more than you speak.

Remember: “Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is success” (anon).