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What’s in a network?

October 28, 2019 by Susan Surgener

What’s in a network?

Let’s say, you’re at a graduate entry-level interview and you’re hit with questions like: “So, why did you choose this field?” or “How do you keep up with trends and developments in your field?” Chances are, a competitive applicant would have some clear insight into their chosen field or role and, chances are, their sources of information may be due to direct or online networking.

Think about how you know what you know about your field and why you chose it. Where’s your info or inspiration coming from e.g. lectures and tutorials, pracs, work-experience, peer-reviewed articles, work shadowing, mentors, people in the field? Or, just from talking to people who know you well about what you like and what you’re good at?

Either way, you’ve connected with people in the know. You’ve tapped into some networks.

Even introverts network
At the very least, even if you just come to classes and only talk to your lecturers and fellow students – with no other interactions – you’re still developing a network. Even introverts understand the value of developing a network.

Those guys you’re friends with? That’s also one of your networks.

The field you want to get into? Others around you are also interested in pursuing a similar path and they’ll look to make connections, perhaps through related student clubs. Another network.

Lecturers are extremely knowledgeable about your field. They are part of your academic network.

Your degree probably attracts professional recognition via a professional association or peak body. And that’s an indirect network. Unless, of course, you take advantage of joining up as a student member. Then that would make you a direct part of that professional network.

In a lot of ways, you’ve ‘networked’ without realising it. That makes it a whole lot easier to get your head around the many other ways you can make connections relating to your chosen field.

To find out more about your related professional associations and peak bodies, see our discipline specific Career Guides available through UniHub.

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