Rose Lokiru

Rose is a Sociology and Law and Society student at the University of Calgary. She has past experience at the Health Quality Council of Alberta, and took part in  the Business + Higher Education Roundtable’s Student Advisory Board (SAB). We talked to Rose about networking best practices.

How do you network? 
Prior to COVID-19, I attended events hosted on campus and volunteered for various organizations. While completing my co-op work terms, I also set myself a goal to connect with at least three people on LinkedIn. In a remote setting, here are some other ways I network:

  • When I apply for jobs, I research the company on LinkedIn and I request to virtually meet with some of the staff from the organization or department(s) to which I applied 
  • I attend virtual events and take note of the names of the speakers and connect with them on social media – I compliment their presentations! 

How did networking allow you to secure a work placement?
Networking was an important factor in my success in securing a work placement on campus. There were many competitive applicants and I didn’t have a lot of experience. I took initiative and reached out to the staff in the office to which I was applying, which ultimately gave me a lot of leverage in getting an offer. I was given detailed information about the job I was applying for, so I knew what to expect if I was offered the position. In another scenario, networking acted as an informal job board where I connected with a manager from a large company who told me about a student opportunity that was not yet posted. This allowed me to prepare my resume ahead of time. 

How has COVID-19 affected the way you network?
I find that I have more free time to dedicate to connecting with new people online or to reach out to my existing network. Before, it was easy to network over coffee but now that networking is limited to a virtual setting, it is important to have some sort of face-to-face interaction by setting up video chats. This makes it easier to establish a connection and be authentic. During online events, make the most of breakout rooms and build connections in those smaller groups. 

How do you maintain your network?  
I like to keep track of the people I’ve met, when I’ve met them, any of their interests/hobbies and a note to myself on when I should follow up. This can be done on a table in Excel, in a notebook, or on a Notes app on your phone. It is important to be consistently in touch with your connections and to not reach out solely when you need something from them – you can send an interesting article, a holiday greeting, or ask how they are doing, especially during these difficult times! 

In conclusion - networking doesn’t have to be stressful! Take it one contact at a time, and ensure to stay in touch. Good luck!