The networking skills is the one of the intellectual skills identified and listed in the “Guideline for integrating Soft skills in HEIs curricula” within the oral and writing communication skills group
This is the first result of the Enhancing the presence of Soft Skills in Higher Education Curricula (Skills4Employability) Erasmus+ project, which seeks to support universities in their efforts to improve the quality of education by adapting curricula to the soft-skills demands of the labour market and, as a result, ensure a greater impact on the employment situation of future graduates.
Networking is about building relationships and connections in a purposeful, organised way. Universities make networking efforts for students every. These could be through career days, industry visits and guest speakers.
More specifically, it is used to form business relationships and to identify, create, or even go through with business opportunities such as expanding to international markets.
Why is this Soft Skill important?
In today’s world, business and otherwise, networking has become extremely important. It might even be essential. Professional networks can lead to more business opportunities and might even further professional statuses. Networking often includes forming relationships with other people in your field or doing similar things as you. This means that you might even find out about jon opportunities through your networking contacts.
How can this Soft Skill be assessed?
Here’s a brief assessment tool, the Focused Networking Self-Appraisal Questionnaire, a 10-item self-scoring instrument developed by Benton, L. (2008). Focused Networking: The Eight Principles of 21st Century Marketing Authorhouse, Bloomington, Indiana. This brief assessment would be best used as a starting place. If students answer “No” to a lot of the questions, they should consider themselves a beginner. Each “No” may be taken as a red flag for practicing the networking activity in question.
1. Did you come to the event well groomed?
2. Did you initiate a conversation with at least 10 people?
3. Did you introduce yourself using eye contact, a sincere smile, a firm handshake and brief introduction of who you are?
|4. When conversing, did you listen closely for common interests and special needs?|
|5. Were you open minded to persons who may have looked, talked or acted unlike those you tend to relate to?|
|6. Did you actively listen for clues to each person’s special strengths and abilities?|
|7. Did you genuinely compliment others on their positive attribute?|
|8. Did you convey enthusiasm, energy and direction through your conversation|
|9. Did you let others know your expertise or special skills?|
|10. Did you mingle throughout the room?|
|11. Did you make a point of introducing any person you talked to anyone else?|
|12. Did you exchange business cards or telephone numbers?|
|13. Have you followed up on each significant networking contact with a telephone call or personal note?|
|14. Have you since networked/ introduced your boss or a co-worker with any of your contacts?|
Apart from attending events to do networking, there are also sites that are specifically for networking like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is really helpful because you can find people with similar interests or work experience as you. Moreover, you can also see the profiles of professionals whose career you admire or want to follow. This can give you some insight into the people you should be meeting or steps you should be taking in your own life and career. Facebook is also another networking site.
Prepared by CONEXX-EU