Networking and socialising
When the time comes to start job hunting, the relationships you built with people you met while studying overseas could be a great asset towards fulfilling your employment goals. There’s an old saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Having an accessible network of reliable friends and acquaintances may be all the difference you need to have that competitive advantage. Here are a few tips for successful networking:
Start with your own network
While you’re in school, the people around you can help build your connections. Try developing meaningful relationships with classmates, teachers, club mates, and peers. For some people this may seem difficult, but it needn’t be. Step out of your comfort zone by introducing yourself to the people who sit next to you in class. Also, feel free to move around to different seats in the classroom when possible. There’s no need to rush things; there’s an entire semester to get comfortable with classmates.
Build good relationships with your professors
Somewhere you can find great industry connections in your chosen field is right there in the classroom! Your professors, teachers and tutors are likely to have already made various industry connections and usually already have years of experience under their belts. Oftentimes, they can provide access to networking events, while also giving advice and guidance. They can also be a good source of first-hand information about internship opportunities and career updates related to what you want to pursue. Take full advantage of their assistance while you freely have access to them.
Participate in networking events
Keep up to date with invitations and announcements relating to on and off-site networking events, seminars and workshops, since they provide excellent opportunities to expand your connections. Usually, your school’s student career centre will have updated information about these. First encounters with strangers may seem awkward and embarrassing, but with continued participation and practice, over time, conversations will become free flowing and natural.
Professional functions are also great places to hear and meet influential people in your industry. Remember, it’s not everyday that you get the opportunity to interact with experts and leaders in your field of study. Although it may be quite difficult to be acquainted with everyone, there are always chances to network afterwards.
Take advantage of social media
Social media is by far the easiest way to network. Use a search engine like Google to find websites related to your industry. Use popular sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to connect with professionals and organizations in a casual manner. Make the first move and be proactive, initiate and engage various organizations and industry leaders in your career field. They may be sharing trends and updates that could prove useful towards the path you wish to take. Keep an eye on your newsfeed for upcoming network functions, job openings and career events in your vicinity.