Getting connected – developing your professional network

Joshua Crofts
Tuesday 12 March 2024

Networking can be one of the most useful ways of enhancing your employability. In this post, we’ll look at some ways you can get started.

Through networking, you can be alerted to job opportunities that have not been publicly advertised, get help with applying to organisations that interest you, gain work experience of sectors you’re curious about, find someone to mentor you, and much more. Some of the ways you can network are available to anyone, while others are unique to University of St Andrews students.

Saint Connect

Saint Connect is the University’s exclusive, global, online community. It is designed to help students, alumni and friends of the University connect with each other for networking and mentoring. When you join the platform, you will be able to indicate your subject area, and the kind of connections you’re looking for, whether that’s a chat online, a formal period of in-person work experience, or anything in between. Saint Connect will then show you a variety of St Andrews alumni willing to help you, including details of their course of study, graduation year, current employer and sector they work in.

This means that Saint Connect can be a powerful tool to grow your professional network, by interacting with people who have had a similar student journey to you, while pursuing the sort of career in which you may be interested. Further, Saint Connect includes a jobs board, as well as a list of upcoming careers and networking events, to further enhance your employability.

Coffee Connect

Coffee Connect is a programme, running in March and October, developed by the Careers Centre and Development to let St Andrews students and alumni meet each other, either virtually or in-person, for a chat over coffee. To participate, you need to join Saint Connect and fill out a brief application form. The Careers Centre will then use the information you provide to connect you with an alumnus who has a similar background or interest to you, and you will then be able to reach out to them within a month of the match being made.

Coffee Connect can be especially helpful if you’re unsure where to begin on Saint Connect, since the Careers Centre can take the hassle out of finding an appropriate match for you. See our Coffee Connect page for further details.


LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. With over 750 million members, it is the largest network of its kind, both in the UK and worldwide. LinkedIn is a great tool for connecting with St Andrews alumni and potential employers. Not only is LinkedIn one of the most popular tools for growing your professional network, but also it can be a very useful way of identifying specific St Andrews alumni you might like to connect with.

To do this, follow the University of St Andrews, then select ‘Alumni’. From here, you can see all of the St Andrews alumni who are on LinkedIn, and can filter them by year of study, degree subject, the sector in which they work, their employer, where they live, and more besides. This can be very helpful when trying to connect with alumni who work in a sector or company that you would like to work in, and can be used alongside Saint Connect and Coffee Connect.

Work experience

Work experience, volunteering and extra-curriculars can also build your network, establishing connections with fellow students and your colleagues that could help you achieve your goals after St Andrews. For ideas of where to begin, consider visiting our part-time local jobs page, where you can discover several ways of finding work that interests you. Further, visit the University’s volunteering page to locate projects you might like to work on, and consider browsing a list of the Students’ Association’s societies for identifying societies that you might like to join or help run.

Further help

Hopefully these tips have helped you get started with networking. But if you would like further advice, or perhaps have a specific question, feel free to book an appointment with a careers adviser for additional support.

Careers360 has good advice and videos on networking.


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