New game plan in the power of networking

By Nabila Natasha

The art of networking has the power to open the doors for great job and career opportunities which may be of advantage for undergraduates especially during current COVID-19 era.

There is no better and convenient place to start networking than being in a university circle filled with a pool of talents and expertise from various fields.

It is a strategic environment for undergraduates to build their networking with lecturers, fellow undergraduates, administration officials and other professionals through events or webinars. Another plus point is networking during your internship.

Networking seems to favour the extroverts rather than introverts but fret not as networking is not as scary as it may seem. Regardless of personality type, you can make full use of your characteristics and strengths in a conversation as long as you are determined to learn about the person you want to network with.

Nonetheless, according to Forbes, curiosity and showing genuine interest are keys to engaging in a fruitful conversation. Keep in mind that a strategic networking is a balanced relationship which means involving both taking and offering something of value.

You may wonder as an undergraduate what you have to offer but worry not. It could be as simple as sharing a news article on a topic of shared interest that was not well spread out online.

With a proper plan to develop the relationships you need to help with your goal, you’ll be able to note the difference in your job searching outcome.

Here are the guidelines to help you develop your networking strategy:

Defining Purpose

Networking is a strategic process instead of a one-time pursuit. Thus, strategic networking is essential where you first determine the pathway you are attempting to walk on.

As you start to develop your network by reaching out to people, ask yourself what your goal is in your career and your motive to build a specific connection with an individual. Otherwise, an unstructured networking will not give you the results.

Working smart

You should not only establish connections with people within your field or industry but also explore beyond that. According to Ivan Misner, Ph.D, author of ‘Networking Like a Pro’ ,“diversity is key to growing a strong personal network.”

When you create a strong network of skillful individuals who have the expertise in areas where you are lacking then you represent a wider sphere of knowledge compared to when you stand alone.

Once you’ve forged new relationships, you can group them into how well you know them. This allows you to map out who you know, and which relationships need to be further nourished.

Boosting your LinkedIn

Often LinkedIn is viewed as primarily used for professional networking purposes (ie. employers posting jobs and job hunters publishing their resume). In fact, it is also a social media platform where you can reach out and connect with individuals desirably beyond an average business conversation.

According to Charlotte Beyer, author of ‘Relationship Alpha: The Emerging Competitive Advantage in Wealth Management’, people commonly go silent with their LinkedIn network. It then might lead them to thinking that the networking platform cannot help them to get a job.

Some are even inactive on LinkedIn and did not take the step to post articles or stories of mutual interests nor commenting and liking captivating posts of others within their network.

Knowing about a person before you interact with them is crucial as it allows you to display what may seem as a genuine interest which can be exhibited through your questions. This way you have a greater chance of establishing a more permanent connection.

LinkedIn has made it easier to gather about a person and seeing their posts which reflect their interests that will prepare you for your meeting with an individual of your interest. It gives you cues and clues of the conversation’s direction.   

Wait no more and engage in this new game plan of networking that might land you that dream job of yours.***

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