Many students often forget the importance of networking in 2018. Networking with fellow students, faculty members and other professionals not only builds your professional network overseas but also increases your chances of landing your dream job. In fact, the chances of getting a job just by applying to various companies are slim. You need to build your professional network and get recommendations from peers and professors in order to boost your career.
Use Your Campus
Don’t know where to start networking? Start with your college, university or school. Find students who share goals and interests similar to yours. Many international students usually make life-long friends on campus. Then, meet students from other colleges, universities and schools.
After connecting with students, professors and other faculty members on campus, use LinkedIn to stay connected to them. Try to make connections with industry experts. Reach out to people you admire.
For example, if you’re studying journalism in the U.S. and you admire a renowned journalist who writes in the New York Times, send her a LinkedIn message saying how much you love her work and what you admire about her the most. It doesn’t hurt to send messages and connect with people.
Who knows? It might even lead to an interview, an internship or job opportunity.
How to Network
Okay, now that you know where to start networking, it’s time to get some tips on how to network. Below are a few tips to get you started:
- Make sure you have some conversation starters handy: Starting a conversation can be hard but it doesn’t have to be! Be prepared with some well-known icebreakers. Questions like “What made you start working for (insert company)?” or “Is this your first time at this event?” can help you connect with professionals.
- Be yourself: While it’s important to be professional and courteous, professionals do want to get to know you. Let your personality shine through. If you think he/she will appreciate a few jokes, crack them. Always read a person’s body language.
- Ask pertinent questions: While talking to a professional, use the opportunity to ask relevant questions about your field. You can pick their brains about the specialization you should take up in your final year or how you can boost your resume.
- Follow-up: Always send an email about your conversation after meeting them. Let them know how much you appreciated their valuable insights, suggestions and other inputs.
Networking is an important part of your career. International students can gradually build a support network by meeting people and develop long-lasting professional relationships. For more information on networking, contact study abroad consultants.