How can international students make connections at university to help their employability this term?

We’ve shared the benefits that a LinkedIn profile can provide for both students and graduates, however, there are other ways to connect and network while you’re studying. Cass Business School, London explains that "One of the biggest regrets past students cite is not utilising the networking opportunities available to them and not using their time wisely." Networking has always played a role in enhancing career goals but here are a few ways to use your time at university to increase your network.

Try to get to know your lecturers better

Use your time with lecturers to ask them questions that could help you tap into your industry. Your lecturers are a fountain of knowledge in your chosen area, this also means they may have further insight into the best way to get into a role and how to go about this. They’re likely to not only have tips that could help with your modules but with your career too. Asking a question or two at the end of a lecture is likely to help your progression but also allow your lecturer to know a little more about you too. This in turn could lead to a lecturer endorsing one of your skills on LinkedIn or providing a reference as you have taken the time to make that connection with them.

Attend networking events

It sounds simple but, taking this step to find suitable events to attend can help give you direction before getting your first graduate role. Take some time looking online for local events but start with those being held at your university first. These could include careers fairs, industry or course events. Use these to expand your circle, meeting more people will help increase your confidence in new situations preparing you for the workplace where it’s common to meet new contacts in a business setting.

Don’t forget about students present and past

Find new events on campus to widen your circle such as those organised by your institution's Global Centre that can help connect you to other international and globally-minded students. Events like Global cafés are a chance to meet like-minded students and find support on campus. Not only is this a good opportunity to make friends but branching out from your usual circle and coursemates can help share knowledge and support throughout your studies and beyond. Most universities also have an alumni network where you can connect with students who have already graduated from your university. If this isn’t available, the same can be found through your LinkedIn account. Try reaching out to alumni from your course or who are working in your dream industry, speaking to international students who have graduated can give you inside knowledge to help lead you in the right direction.

Speak to your Careers Team

The careers team at your institution can help you with a wide range of advice, from CVs to interviews, job opportunities and schemes being run across campus. They will have information on opportunities that are useful for your chosen career. By connecting with this team, you’ll be able to determine at which stage you should be attending certain events, and applying for relevant positions.

When networking, try to remember people’s names as this shows that you’ve been listening to them. Check your social media is up to date and professional for when you start adding contacts and try to follow up with a thank you email, it not only shows professionalism but will help people remember you too. Use smaller events to build your confidence and don’t be afraid to make the first move. For more career tips and access to a database of global employers, register with GradLink or free today!

By Jen Garmston Published: Apr 27,2022

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