Networking tips for international graduate students in 2023

Finding a job in 2023 for international graduate students will be tough, probably tougher than you expect.

Networking is your best bet at getting ahead of the competition.

Here are 7 tips on building an enduring network and becoming unforgettable, collated from successful past students:

1. Go out of your way to meet people:
If you solely rely on career and job fairs, which practically everyone else attends, you’re not going to make much headway. Show up at events repeatedly, even at other departments, or other universities in your city.

2. Be active in student and professional organizations:
Such communities will open the door to a broader diversity of people, and lead to more nodes to potential connections.

3. Build a digital professional profile:
Make it easier for people (prospective connections and employers) to find you and know more about your strengths through platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube, GitHub, etc.

4. Prepare a 30-second elevator pitch:
Practice a few versions of a 30-second elevator pitch to introduce yourself. You never know when the opportunity might arise!

5. Don’t jump to what you want, first listen to what they want: Many make the mistake of jumping right away to “Hey I’m looking for jobs. Please help me.” Let the person talk, and offer to contribute however possible.

6. Learn about and use cultural specifics to your advantage: Cultural or regional elements can be a massive area to connect at a deeper level with people. For instance, connecting through a popular sport, regional traditional festivals or even outdoor activities.

7. Send a follow-up email:
The contact you met with must’ve met 20 people that week. Remind them about your interaction, and thank them for giving you time! It’s the least you can do, and also a powerful way to be memorable. Here’s a follow-up email example:

Dear Mr. Hartford,

Thank you for taking the time to meet me yesterday. I appreciate you speaking about your career experiences, and your interest in learning about my career goals and background.

I gained a few key insights about the steps I need to take over the next year or so to progress in my own career. I really found the bouncing of ideas with you helpful.

I also wanted to thank you for connecting me with Jane, and we’re scheduled to meet on Tuesday. I would love to keep in touch with you as my plans take shape.

Once again, I appreciate your time.

Rubin Sagar

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