While a nerve-wracking experience for some, networking at events can garner useful business connections, though you'll need to be equipped with more than a good handshake. I've gathered some pointers together based on experience (the good, the bad and the ugly) in the hope they will help prevent networking opportunities from feeling like the first day of school - again.
So why do parents think the education system isn't working? The majority of parents (64%) said their children are missing out on the key skills that employers want, like communication and teamwork. And over half (57%) think there's too much focus on academia. Similarly, a third of parents worry that their children can't link their education today with their future careers.
It's the beginning of the academic year and looking for a job at the end of your degree is likely to feel a very long way off. There is a whole lot of hoops to jump through, coffee to consume and essays to write before that even gets to the top of your priority list. I totally get it. But there are things you can do now that will make that job hunt process so much easier.
Caroline is passionate about empowering women to make themselves vital to their employers and their industry, so they don't end up getting sidelined on returning to work. "I help women look at how they can build their career and prove their worth long before they get pregnant so that any employer would give their right arm to keep them, even on a flexible basis.
Why can't excellent women progress in their careers in proportion to their talent? Every day, it seems, a new factor is blamed. We're too apologetic and indecisive. Or self-deprecating and cute. We lack confidence in the company of alpha males. We can't crack the 'boys club' mentality in the boardroom. Some of us over-compensate and play it super-tough or 'bossy'. What's best?
With GCSE and A-Level results fresh in the hands of thousands of young people in the UK this week, it's important for students and their parents to be aware of the wide spectrum of available options. University will rightly continue to be a place for generations to continue their education, but it's naive to think of it as a 'one stop shop' for getting onto the career ladder.
Whether you are going to university or into the job market I hope you'll set out to 'earn and learn' throughout a career that will be all the more rewarding if you do. The retail industry is a good place to do that. It is often a first job for many school leavers and it's a fulfilling place to build a career, providing a lifetime of learning and opportunities.