3 female students at outdoor cafe

Networking

Networking doesn't need to be uncomfortable. It's all about building lasting and mutually beneficial professional relationships that will help you get connected, discover opportunities, and get ahead.

Overview

Why network?

  • 80% of jobs are unadvertised. Employers prefer to hire people they know within their personal and professional networks. Networking helps you gain access to these unadvertised positions.
  • Gain first-hand, current information about the world of work to help develop your job-search strategy.
  • Connect to experts who have knowledge of trends and opportunities in your field.
  • Meet interesting, like-minded people who may end up being your future supervisors or colleagues.

It can be fun. (Really!)

  • Who's in your network now?
  • Networking doesn’t just happen at planned professional events; it also occurs in your daily interactions with classmates, faculty, family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, supervisors and co-workers. Talk to these people about your career-related goals and see if they connect you to others, and be prepared for unexpected networking opportunities. The people you meet and friends you make while you're here at UBC are your network too.

Where to network?

There are many ways to connect with employers and professionals in your area of interest. We suggest becoming a member of a professional student association or a student member of a professional association related to your future work. Here are some other ways to meet people:

  • Career fairs
  • Association meetings
  • Networking events
  • Lectures
  • Informational interviews
  • Warm calling
  • Cold calling
  • Volunteering

30-Second introduction

Start with:

  • My name is...
  • I am a UBC student in...

Then one of the following:

  • I want to gain experience in...
  • My passion is ...
  • My long-term career goal is

Then ask them about themselves. Networking is as much about listening as it is talking.

Tips for success

Have a good introduction ready

A good introduction will include your name, what you’re currently doing (e.g. I’m a student) and the area or type of work you’re interested in. 

Do your research

Always prepare for a networking meeting, even if it’s informal. Learn
as much as you can about the person you’re meeting with (via Google, LinkedIn, etc.), their organization and industry. Preparation  will demonstrate your enthusiasm and keeps the conversation flowing.

Dress appropriately

First impressions count, so ensure that you wear clothing that reflects a professional image and that's appropriate for the field that you're exploring.

Bring business cards

Business cards can be printed inexpensively and allow you to exchange information for future opportunities. They should contain your name, phone number, area of work or interest, and a permanent and professional email address.

Engage in meaningful conversations

Open-ended questions such as “what brings you to this event?” can start conversations and allow you to learn about others without being too personal. Demonstrate your interest by asking questions, being genuine and avoid dominating the conversation. 

Make good use of your time - and theirs

Don’t spend your entire evening at an event talking to one person. Give yourself and others the opportunity to network with different people. 

Keep an open mind

Not everyone you meet will be able to offer you a job, but you never know who’s connected to whom. You can increase your chances of reaching your goals by talking to and making a good impression on as many people as you can.

Networking is a two-way street

Successful networking builds mutually beneficial, positive relationships. Allow people to join your conversations at events, while reaching out, sharing information and connecting others in your network.  

Send a thank you note

Thank everyone you meet or who gives you advice. Continue to follow-up with your contacts even after you’ve obtained a job to develop and maintain your network for the future. This can be an informal email or a more personal handwritten note.

Industry associations and networks

General

International:

Computer Science/Technology:

Networking topics

External resources

Career events

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