Building your Network in Polytechnic

It is important to build your support circle of friends and mentors in polytechnic in order to help with your career development. Here are three tips to expand your network during and after your diploma.
Anne Grace Savitha
Writer, gradsingapore
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In your first and second year in polytechnic, get to know your peers, seniors and lecturers. Some of them will definitely have valuable industry experiences to share with you, or may bring you leads for internships. Eventually, you will be advancing to the workforce or embark on further studies with your peers. Looking out for one another is the best way to help each other get to success!

1. Get to know your seniors

When you’ve just entered polytechnic, don’t be shy to meet your seniors through clubs and societies or during your classes. You’ll also get a chance to meet your seniors during Orientation Week. They’re your best sources of advice on coping with polytechnic life, the demands of your course and even future careers.

Once the rapport has been established, they will be glad to share if you ask for their advice on suitable internship and job placements. Having taken the same path as you and undergone the internships for your course, they can relate their learning experience to you from a student’s point of view.

Getting different opinions from a few seniors helps you to make your own choices, especially if they had internships or part-time work in various industries, which you are looking at and considering.

2. Look out for important references

When applying for internships and jobs, you are often required to state your professional references whom potential employers might contact to get an idea of your work ethic before hiring you.

These references can be your seniors in the same industry or your lecturers. Ideally, you should state your former employers as your references. However, if you do not have any work experience, you are likely to start off by naming your lecturers from school as your references.

Give them a heads up so that they are aware that you are seeking their help to vouch for your technical and soft skills in seeking employment. Make use of professional networking platforms online such as LinkedIn where you can keep them updated on your academic and professional pursuits, at the same time, allowing your lecturers, tutors, and seniors to write testimonials online for you.

You can ask your references to provide recommendations about you based on your involvement in assignments and contributions for clubs and societies. Employers will get a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses through their recommendations.

Remember that your references are spending precious moments of their time to help you with your applications. Don‘t forget to thank them for going the extra mile, other than sharing their knowledge with you!

3. Be open to job recommendations

Maintain your network of contacts from your diploma course of study as these are useful professional links for your future.

You will end up in similar industries with your peers. Even if that is not the case, you can still exchange tips and information on jobs and career planning with them. When you are looking for professional advancement, who you know is also a crucial factor, as they can open the right doors for you.

Maintain your relationships with your friends, seniors, and lecturers even after you have graduated from polytechnic, so that you can help each other down the road to create new and better successes.