Networking like professionals!

You may have seen the flurry of activity on my social media accounts last week about the Coffee & Careers networking event at the University of Derby. It was nothing short of the most amazing evening.

I observed 190 nervous students approach nearly 80 business people and within minutes were networking like professionals. They were all smiling, listening, taking notes and asking some insightful questions which really made the business people think about their own careers. I know this because of the many conversations I had that night and the many emails I have received since.

I underestimated what a difference that evening would make. The module I lead is all about employability, and whilst the qualification is very important, I truly believe the “softer” employability skills – being self-aware, driven, receptive, self-assured, resilient and informed – are vital. Those students demonstrated all of these skills on Wednesday night, and should be very proud of themselves. There were offers to volunteer, internships, placements and possibly jobs – more to follow once we have confirmed – and I can guarantee a lot of connecting on LinkedIn and Twitter!

It was not possible without an amazing team at the University – the teaching team I work with, Bev Crighton who promoted this so much with all of her contacts, the administration, estates and marketing teams. Also to Nelson’s Law for their kind sponsorship and prizes. 

Finally to the many professional people who so willingly responded to our call, giving 2 hours of their evening to offer an insight into industry and move students one step closer to their goals in a truly competitive world.

I am very touched by everyone’s support – we were brave, and we created conversations about careers.

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