Growing Your Network in the New Year
Written by UCD Alumni Ambassador (opens in a new window)Aghogho Sophie Okpara
Compared to the good old college days — when making connections was as easy as joining a society, playing for a sports club or teaming up for a group project — growing your network after graduation might require a little bit more finesse. Whether you're climbing the corporate ladder or just aiming to boost your social skills, building connections beyond the office walls is a game-changer!
Here are eight tips to supercharge your networking game in the coming year:
The most important note-to-self to preface your networking journey is to always show up as your authentic self. Often people feel pressure to appear and act a certain way in the workplace, but the most genuine connections you will make are those that manifest when you are being your true self.
Make use of online professional networks
Digital platforms such as the (opens in a new window)UCD Alumni Network and LinkedIn serve as gateways to diverse networks that might otherwise remain beyond your reach. Start posting on these websites by actively sharing your achievements, insights and ongoing learning experiences. You never know who is interested in what you have to say, and who may open new doors for you.
Embrace shared interests
One of the greatest ways to meet people who have similar interests or hobbies to you is to find where those people regularly gather. The connections you make may not be with people in your specific industry, but expanding your network is not just about being acquainted with people in your professional bubble. Be open!
Attend networking events
Finding your way to in-person networking events will familiarise you with others who have the same goal - meeting new people. It's a far less intimidating experience compared to stepping into a space where everyone is already acquainted. Strike up conversations with friendly faces, and exchange details. Even if those interactions are fleeting, your communication skills are bound to flourish.
Avail of opportunities organised by UCD Alumni
Getting involved with your alumni community is another exciting way to connect with those who have walked the same halls as you, and meet people who share your interests. At the very least, you can bond over the fact that you went to the same university! Explore our upcoming events or give back to the UCD community with our volunteering opportunities.
Volunteer with local or international groups
Joining a cause you care about will allow you to meet others with a similar passion. While it may not seem a traditional networking avenue, it is an incredible way to foster meaningful human connections. Joining forces for a greater purpose not only unveils the stories of those around you but also fosters personal growth along the way.
Leverage your current network’s network
Sometimes the solutions we are looking for are an arm’s length away. If you’re eager to learn from someone within a particular sector, rather than conducting an extensive search, consider reaching out to individuals in your existing network. Simply inquire if they happen to know someone with the expertise you seek.
Connect on the move
Many people forget how great a networking ground public transport is! It is full of all kinds of people from every walk of life. Next time you find yourself waiting for a bus, train or even a flight, strike up a conversation with the person next to you. You never know how your paths might cross in the future.
As you embark on your post-graduate journey, remember that networking is not just about advancing your career; it's about fostering meaningful connections. Embrace these tips, stay proactive, and watch as your network flourishes in 2024 and beyond! Don't forget to (opens in a new window)update your contact details so you can stay connected to your UCD alumni community and make the most of the support and resources awaiting you.