Student blog: A student's guide to networking events

Ocean Cheung

By Ocean Cheung

Ocean was a Brisbane International Student Ambassador in 2017 and is passionate about helping international students to network and gain employment experience during their time studying abroad.

They say that it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.

Whatever your career path is, making great connections by networking will impact you significantly along your journey. You never know what opportunities – such as internships – may arise from attending networking events.

Read on to hear some lessons that I have learnt from attending networking events.

Before the event: Preparation

Ocean Cheung

1. Update your LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn is a business-and employment-oriented social networking perform. It is similar to Facebook, but mainly used for professional networking. Make sure it is up to date and looking sharp – you never know who might stumble across it!
2. Research the people you are interested in meeting, and conduct research on their bio, work experience, education, recent posts and articles on LinkedIn. 
3. Prepare some questions you may like to ask people during the event.
4. Develop a deeper understanding of the industry.
5. Rehearse and practice if you get nervous about talking to people in English!

During the event: Talk and listen

Ocean Cheung

1. Be brave, take a sip, go and say hello to people.
2. Talk to people who are standing alone – it is easier to open up a conversation.
3. Introduce yourself! Talk about your studies, your career goals, even your country of origin. Normally people will talk about themselves after you introduce yourself, but if they don’t, you can ask “How about yourself?” or “What do you do for work?”. People find it easier to talk about themselves than to ask questions!
4. Be a good listener.
5. Interact with people and ask questions. If you run out things to talk about, you can discuss the difference between Australia and your home country. It is always a good topic for international students.
6. Ask inspiring questions. For example, “What do you think the industry will be like in 10 years’ time?”
7. Ask for their business card and connect with them on LinkedIn after the event.

Ocean Cheung

8. If you become good friends, ask for a selfie!
9. Move on politely. You don’t want to spend the whole night talking with one person, there are some examples to move on politely: 

  • “Thank you for your sharing. It is really inspiring. Nice to meet you again and I hope to catch up with you soon.” 
  • "It’s been great talking to you. Thank you very much and see you around.” 
  • "I would love to grab a drink to chat further. It was fantastic to meet you, see you around.”

After the event: Follow up

1. Reach out. Send a LinkedIn message or email to ask for a catch-up or to be able to chat further

Hi ____,

 It was nice meeting you yesterday at ___. Thank you for your sharing on ___, and I am really interested in ___. It will be great if I could have a coffee and catch up with you and learn more from you. I am keen and available to meet you on next ___, ___ or ___. Please let me know if you are able to meet. Thank you once again and hope to see you soon.

Best regards, ____

2. Create a spreadsheet to record the people you have met through network events. It will be really useful for your career.

See you at the next networking event!

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