A networking plan is vital for your child’s future success, however uncomfortable that makes us. As your child now has a social media profile and is starting to get grades and work experience so they are developing a brand. For university applications as well as jobs they need far more than just grades. They need evidence of being able to go beyond this. A networking plan for a student is more than formal interactions with high powered executives. It is about getting to know local managers who might be able to organize low level bits of work experience, peers whose parents may have companies and lecturers at college who may have opportunities. And new to many of us at the start of our careers, having a profile online where networking also occurs. Are they following and commenting on key people’s posts.
In summary, it is about your child making a record, over a period of years, that they are interested in an industry or sector.
What Is the Significance of Your Child’s Own Brand?
People love dealing with genuine people. In management it is known as being authentic. If you were given the choice between a product shown in an advertisement and one suggested by a friend, you would choose the latter. You would expect to see evidence of its’ effectiveness and people who you trust to say positive things.
Your child’s personal brand will function similarly, but on a wider scale, by providing contacts they can either reach out to use directly, or more realistically to help influence and hear about opportunities. Therefore, a student needs to have a networking plan. These cannot be achieved in a final push, but slowly and organically over several years.
Many people avoid networking because they are afraid of walking into a room full of strangers and striking up a discussion with someone they have never met before. The confidence to do this is remarkably like an arrogance and entitlement that we would rather not see in our children. Remember this does not have to be online. Following and showing interest on something on social media means that when a company advertises an internship on that medium, they can see that you have interacted with them before out of interest.
Display and thinking about what they are displaying in their social posts. The whole goal of personal branding is to place your child at the center of their brand, thus presenting and highlighting their true self is what will make them the most relevant and trustworthy version of themselves. Your child should be consistent and reliable, rather than someone who shows up every now and then and takes more than they offer. Remember, your child is attempting to establish confidence in their own ‘brand’. This is why it is important that your child has a clean social media profile.
Creating an online network is just as vital as creating an offline ecosystem. This has become especially crucial in terms of personal branding, with the most successful company owners and entrepreneurs being those that went to their social feeds and checked in with their networking groups on a regular and consistent basis. After networking with their peers and industry professionals, children should connect with them on LinkedIn and other professional networks. Send a personalized connection request rather than the standard boring invitation. Remember that developing your child’s own brand and making significant connections is a long-term process, and fostering relationships takes time. This is how a YouTube channel which focuses on aspect could work as a CV.
Children should prepare themselves. Preparation is essential for getting the most out of networking. Punctuality, a professional look, and a big supply of business cards have always been required by serial networkers. What is most important is that your child has had some practice at talking to adults as they grow up. Take a deep breath and say hello. They should have thought about how to sum themselves up in 60 seconds and what achievements they are most proud of and to bring up.
Conduct enough research. Children should consider their objectives before beginning their networking experience. Why are they going to a particular event? What exactly do they aim to accomplish, and with whom? Is there a specific sort of person they would want to meet? What is their degree of seniority, and what are their responsibilities? Are they going to an industry-specific event or a more general networking group where they will meet a variety of business owners from various sectors and interests?
Choose wisely. There are several networking opportunities accessible both online and in person. Attempting to attend all of these events might be extremely costly in terms of time, resources, and, most importantly, money. Experiment by attending several events at various levels within your industry. This entails thinking outside the box and immersing oneself in fresh, inventive, and often unexpected possibilities to make connections throughout the sector.
Final Thoughts on a Networking Plan for Students
From about the age of 16 your child will hopefully have an idea of what they want to do when older. Hopefully then they will have enough of an interested to follow famous engineers or the like on line. Following and commenting on posts shows not just that person, but others that they are genuinely interested in a certain field.
In person meetings do not need to official ‘networking events’, just not being afraid to approach people who they might otherwise be nervous of. Although that connection might not be significant it could lead to them being remembered in a future conversation.