June 2, 2015, by Laura Estrop
CSN CV and Networking Event
By Laura Estrop, Social Media Officer
I recently attended an event run by the Creative Student Network, or CSN for short, which is a student society run by Dr Elizabeth Evans, a film and television lecturer at the University. Their networking event gave students the chance to meet and talk with University alumni who now work within the creative industry. They included:
- Hannah White – Assistant Producer at Fox International Channels
- Gareth Cash – Creative at Comedy Central
- Mark Lautman – Producer at Intermission Film
- Paul Hough – Creative Work Placement Manager at Broadway Cinema
- James Brytan – Account Director at Skeleton Productions
- Natalie Edwards – Director at Canopy
- Eric Simpson – Online Journalist for BBC East Midlands
- Jess Etherington – freelance video editor
The day was split into two sessions; the morning consisted of a CV workshop, where students had their CVs reviewed and the afternoon was a one-on-one speed networking session. Students were given five minutes with each person in order to get their personal questions answered and gain any specific knowledge about the industry. Although I didn’t take part in the sessions, I was able to do some networking of my own. What I found really interesting was the advice I gained and also the different styles of networking I discovered while at the event.
From the creative professionals perspective
As I was talking with the creative professionals, it became apparent that there are two types of networking. The first is artificial networking, where someone buys you a fancy dinner or tries to give you something (one example was receiving a CD) in return for your time and contact details. This type of networking was disliked by the creatives, they said it always feels forced and they were less likely to remain in contact with or help the person.
The second type is social networking. This is the style of networking that was happening at this event. It’s where you talk to people in a friendly manner and in a relaxed environment with the non-overt aim of getting something out of the person you are chatting to. This one was more favoured by the creatives as it is informal and more like a natural conversation.
Tips and advice
I also asked them if they had any networking tips or advice. They said:
- Research the person or people you are going to meet beforehand. You want to make a good first impression and showing an interest in the person you’re seeing is a good way to get them to take you seriously.
- Be confident and truthful in your approach, don’t exaggerate.
- You never know who may know someone in a related field so always be willing to talk to everyone.
- If you haven’t already, get a Linkedin account.
What did the students get out of it?
I also spoke to the students to see what they had gained from their networking experience. Some of the comments included:
- “It’s given me confidence to do this again; it’s just talking to people.”
- “I know how to get people to notice me in a creative way.”
- “I know that I should speak formally but friendly.”
- “It’s made me really think about my career, I know that I have to narrow down my search and be more specific.”
- “You need to have an idea of what you want to get out of the conversation.”
- “I don’t think people realise how easy networking is.”
The event was a success with students and gave them the skills and confidence needed to do this again. In all honesty, if you want to work in the creative industry, you have to network, therefore the event is a great way to prepare students for professional networking after they graduate. Being a former film and television student and member of CSN, I personally find the CV and networking events to be extremely beneficial for both networking and getting careers advice for people within the industry I aspire to work in. Why not give it a go? You never know who you may meet!