Networking and socialising
Lay the foundation for a better professional life
Building good relationships with people you meet overseas can be of great advantage when you have to start job hunting. In many cases, “it’s not what you know, but who you know” that can help you put your best foot forward. Here are a few tips for successful networking:
Start with your own network
The people you already know in school can be a tool for expanding your connections. Start creating meaningful relationships with your classmates, club mates, and peers. If you find yourself struggling to meet different people, a simple act of introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you in class can help improve your confidence. You can also try moving around during the semester and taking different seats in the classroom.
Build good relationships with your professors
Your professors, teachers or tutors are likely to have great industry connections. With years of experience under their belt, they know the ins and outs of a particular area that could be of interest to you. They can also provide access to networking events, first-hand information about internship opportunities, or career updates in the line of work you want to pursue. Plus, your lecturers are a great source of advice and guidance, so make sure you take advantage of their assistance.
Join student clubs
Most universities and schools have student activity clubs catering to several interests and hobbies. Take up leadership and engagement responsibilities in such communities to increase your network. For instance, if journalism interests you, being a part of the student newspaper is a great way to connect with several faculties and departments. You can also reach out to people from your home country or ethnicity by joining cultural groups and international student hubs.
Participate in networking events
Networking events, seminars and workshops are excellent opportunities to widen your connections, so keep an eye out for any invitations and announcements from your university’s student career centre. First encounters are normally awkward, but with continuous participation, speaking with new people will, in time, become easy and natural. You can also volunteer for various causes to meet and interact with more people and increase your circle of contacts.
Professional functions are also great places to find influential people who you can interact with. Such events also give you an opportunity to connect with experts and leaders in your field of study. If you are not able to get acquainted with all, collect cards and network later.
Take advantage of social media
The easiest way to start networking is through social media. Networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are great platforms to connect with professionals in a more casual way. So be proactive and take the initiative to engage with organisations and industry leaders in your chosen field, as they are likely to share trends and updates that might be useful to the path you wish to take. Also, be on the lookout for any networking functions, job openings or career events on your newsfeed.
Connect with your alumni
Try reaching out to your university’s alumni through direct contact or social channels. You may reach out to your department or university student help centre to get their contact details.
A friendly advice: Be wise when networking. Any form of negative association can harm your industry reputation. Your network is no less than an asset so always try to stay connected and maintain relationships. Call them once in a while or send them a text message on any important day. Keep in mind that not everyone would be available to help. However, the more people you network with, the more will be your chances to reap professional benefits.