Skip links

Is Networking Reserved For Professionals? Uhhh Nope.

As a teacher, encouraging your students to explore their career options and plan for their future would be second nature to you. Networking can play a significant role in helping individuals land their dream job and achieve their career goals.

It is the process of building professional relationships with individuals in your field of interest. Through meeting and communicating with people,  individuals can obtain advice, guidance, support, and even score job opportunities.

Networking can take place in a variety of settings, including social media platforms, professional associations, industry events, and informational interviews.

Building Your Network

Networking begins with building relationships. As students, their natural starting point would be identifying professionals who are already in their network, such as family, friends, teachers, and school alumni. These individuals can provide valuable advice and may be able to connect them with others.

You can also foster a good environment for building networks through organizing industry events, professional associations, and encouraging student participation in online groups and forums.

person in black long sleeve shirt holding persons hand

Networking for Job Search

Many job opportunities are not advertised, and employers often rely on recommendations from their own employees or network to fill open positions. When students build a strong network, they increase their chances of being referred to job openings and getting their foot in the door.

Further, it can also help you learn about potential job opportunities before they are advertised. By building relationships early on, students may be able to learn about job openings before they are made public, giving them a competitive advantage.

Encourage students to leverage online platforms such as LinkedIn to create professional profiles, join industry-related groups, and reach out to alumni or professionals for informational interviews.

By guiding students in utilising these networking tools, teachers can empower them to proactively expand their professional connections and uncover hidden job opportunities.

A man in a black suit loosening his tie

Building a Professional Image

The sooner students start networking, the faster they will understand the importance of  building a professional image.

Attending industry events and participating in professional associations, would demonstrate their commitment to their respective fields of interest and show that they are serious about their future careers.

In today’s day and age, the pool of talent trying to enter the workforce is increasing rapidly. Individuals need to stand out from their peers and networking might just be the key in making a positive impression on potential employers.

Integrate lessons on effective communication, active listening, and interpersonal skills into their curriculum. By emphasising the value of clear and respectful communication, you can empower students to project professionalism in their interactions confidently, maintain professional decorum, and make a positive impression on potential employers.

three men sitting while using laptops and watching man beside whiteboard

Maintaining Relationships

Maintaining relationships is another layer that comes hand-in-hand with networking. This involves staying in touch with connections and continuing to provide value to them, or continuing to speak about opportunities to meet and even intern with them.

Students must understand that maintaining their network can also helps them stay informed about changes in their industry of choice and can provide new opportunities for career growth.

Practical guidance on networking skills, such as introducing oneself, initiating conversations, and maintaining professional relationships are key kickoff points in the classroom. Conduct role-playing activities or mock networking scenarios to help students practice their networking skills in a safe environment.

Networking plays a crucial role in career planning and job search. By building a strong network, students can gain valuable insights into their fields of interest, learn about job opportunities, and build a professional image. It is important to approach networking with a genuine interest in building relationships and to maintain these relationships over time.

As a teacher, you can encourage your students to start building their network early and to view networking as an important part of their career planning process.

Leave a comment