Networking is a fantastic way to make connections with people working in your field or with similar interest. But how do you get started? Brandon is sharing his top tools for networking when you're a student.
I think one of the top concerns on every student’s list is finding employment after completing their degree. I know this is a major issue for me, but what has helped in the past is developing connections in the field you would like to work in. Since we all know this but many of us don't know where to start, I will be mentioning a few strategies and noteworthy networking tools that have helped me along my way.
One important aspect of networking is to find and relate to individuals with similar interest to your own. I have found Queens to be exponentially better at hosting a variety of events when comparing it to my last university. I noticed this within the law school specifically because of the continuous emails I get from the graduate school and the law school. Every week there are new events and discussions taking place! I recommend you sign up for the ones that interest the most. Not only do you gain the opportunity to learn about an interesting topic but you also will have to opportunity to engage with professionals, professors, and colleagues. Do your best to be outgoing and friendly because you may never know whom you may connect with.
If you have ever signed up for a Queen’s event then you have probably been redirected to Eventbrite. My next recommendation is that, in your free time, browse the events page. There are always a lot of interesting things going on in this wonderful city! It is important to also look beyond your field and explore all your interests. I’m sure most students by now have learned that their programmes are very interdisciplinary. Similarly to the programmes offered by Queens, attending almost any social event can become an opportunity to meet friends or contacts. Who knows, you might even learn something new or develop a new interest and even better a lot of these events will often offer free drinks or food!
Lastly, LinkedIn may be one of the more underutilised tools that seems to be on the back of everyone’s minds. For myself, I have begun to use LinkedIn more and more on a regular basis. Globalisation is the major factor to consider in this realm as I am an international student from Canada I have major difficulties making connections back home (where I plan to return to for a career).
Connecting online reduces this challenge as you can see and browse through a variety of professionals in your field. You can also find individuals with similar interests. Again, for me what I found to be helpful was sending messages or discussing with individuals who have taken similar paths to a career that I may want. For example, graduates from the same programme or those who have studied abroad tend to be helpful in guiding how they have arrived at where they are. What worked and didn’t work for them, networking is all about communication.
If you feel nervous about jumping into all these networking opportunities I would also recommend checking out YouTube videos, blogs, or podcast about communication and networking. There are a ton of extremely helpful tools out there; you just have to utilise them!
For more from Brandon, check out his blog.
Juris Doctorate | 1st year | Calgary, Canada
I am a 26 year old that has moved to Belfast recently to study law. I come from a family of ice hockey players; I first started playing at age 4. I initially had a scholarship before I changed universities to pursue a criminal justice degree. This degree led to me to working in a Medical Examiner’s office as an autopsy technician and also working in a Halfway House aiding offenders in their transitional period out of prison. I’ve had quite ‘unique’ work experience to say the least. Now that I am not playing ice hockey full time I enjoy trying all sorts of new things and lately, you can find me taking in some of the wonderful golf courses that Northern Ireland has to offer.
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