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?

  • Employers often prefer to hire people they know, or who have connections to people they know. Building a professional network means you can get advice, referrals and inside information from experts in your field.
  • 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.

Rethinking what a network is

  • Who's already 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 the friends you make while you're here at UBC are a part of your network too. They may be fellow students and peers now, but in 5 or 10 years they will be working professionals. Investing in these relationships can pay off in the future.

Where to network?

There are many ways to connect with employers and professionals in your area of interest. Here are some other ways to meet people:

  • Career fairs
  • Become a member (or student member) of a relevant professional association and attend meetings or events
  • Networking events
  • Lectures
  • Informational interviews
  • Volunteering
  • Anywhere you are interacting with new people!

Expand Your Network with LinkedIn

Explore what other UBC graduates are doing and connect with them on LinkedIn. Find out what they studied and what they do now.

  1. Visit LinkedIn

  2. Search: “The University of British Columbia”
  3. Select: “Alumni”
  4. Refine your search by clicking on the available categories or do your own custom search

Or, you can use this method to search for a particular company and then find UBC alumni working at that organization.

30-Second introduction

Start with:

  • My name is...
  • I'm a UBC student studying...

Then one of the following:

  • I want to gain experience in...
  • I’m curious about...
  • 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.

Show professionalism

First impressions count, so ensure that you wear clothing that is appropriate for the field or the setting. You may also want to consider bringing business cards with you.

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 to people in your network.  

Send a thank you email or message

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. You can do so through email or LinkedIn.

Industry associations and networks

General

Computer Science/Technology:

Networking topics

External resources

Career events

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