Networking for beginners…

How good is your networking?

I'm an accidental networker really - I can't remember a single moment when I thought "I must make sure I cultivate a wide circle of influential friends and acquaintances in the procurement profession" - but then you look around and find you have 500 plus contacts on LinkedIn..

But here's a scary story. Our good friend's son was required to go to a lecture at his university recently - about networking. He was told how important it was, how they had to start thinking now about contacts, because it would be so important in terms of finding a job, getting placements for the work experience part of their course, or support for their course-related project. Cultivate your parent's friends, they were told. (Bad luck if your parents don't have any friends of course).

What was particularly scary was that this was in his second week of his first year of his three year course. And he's not even doing business - he's a geographer, for goodness sake!

It's also supports a growing unfairness in our society. Life is tough in the current climate for many people, and if you don't have parents who know important people who can help you out, if you can't afford to work for nothing as an intern because your family can't afford to support you, it's an even bigger struggle for youngsters. The university were just doing the best for their students - I'm not criticising them, they were arguably giving him good guidance.

But I'm glad I grew up in the era I did, even if the sum total of the career advice I got at university was the old lady in the careers library saying - "why don't you go and look at the brochures over on that dusty shelf" when I told her I had no idea what I wanted to do...

Anyway, we're going to return to careers and discussion around procurement as a profession of choice shortly. We'll have interesting news and some ways you might be able to both promote procurement, and help people who can't rely on Uncle Ted the millionaire for their first work placement..  more to follow in the next few weeks!

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