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Keeping in touch after your masters program

Networked Nation

The sentiment of the slogan “Networked Nation” neatly conceptualises how connected everybody is in today’s world and how vital it is to maintain contacts (although the slogan itself never achieved more than a pasting on Series 4 of The Thick of It! ). It is particularly relevant to today’s university students, who meet new faces almost every day and encounter individuals, companies and services that could shape futures.  At postgraduate level you have even closer contact with tutors and professionals, while friends you make will probably go on to great things in various spheres, so the opportunities for staying in touch expand both in terms of in volume and benefit!

Social networking

Often the friends you make at university, whether you’re an 18-year-old fresher or a 28-year-old plus postgraduate fresher, become friends for life. Nowadays it almost goes without saying that you will keep in contact with many people you come across from this time of your life; social media (read: Facebook), the mortal foe of anyone with a deadline but saving grace for anyone with friends, has connected us all to the point where it is almost more of an effort to avoid someone than stay in touch! As a rule postgrad tends to be more international than undergrad, so Facebook, Twitter etc. are all the more important as an easy and free way of maintaining links all over the world. You also never know if/when you may need a friend in a particular part of the world, whether to cadge some floor space while travelling or if you’re looking to take your career in a particular geographical-cum-business direction.  Not that you would ever be so mercenary about friendships of course, but knowing someone who knows someone can open up a world of possibilities you wouldn’t otherwise have access to...

Utilise your university

The concept of ‘networking’ is often automatically identified with careers rather than friendships, and there are a hundred and one ways to stay plugged in to developments in the job market once you leave your university days behind. One little known fact is that institutions allow former students to reap the benefits of their career services as much as current students – so take advantage!  As well as this service you have the university alumni associations, which put on events throughout the year and around the globe for past students. The majority of these are career focused within a social setting, surely the very definition of networking!  Such occasions are prime opportunities to meet successful professionals in industries you are interested in and to put yourself on their radar. Closer to home tutors/supervisors can be goldmines for postgraduates interested in applying their masters or PhD degrees to a job situation.

Career websites

Outside university contacts, plunder the internet for online career-based communities.  LinkedIn is the most well-known of these and it’s a great idea to create your own profile before you’ve finished your postgraduate degree as part of the great Job Search Effort. The website contains company pages and job-specific groups that any member can join, which show upcoming job openings and fellow LinkedIn members who work in the industry. Most large (and small!) organisations also have active Twitter accounts that you can trawl to keep abreast of their latest developments.

Friends' parents

And lastly less obvious, though still useful, contacts are friends’ parents!  Not related to you therefore can’t be classed as nepotism, and undoubtedly many will be high up in their industry and so well-placed to talk to you/put you in contact with other helpful people. You can approach them yourself of course, though they’re equally likely to hear about what you’re doing via your friends’ chattering and come to you. It has been known for parents to approach their child’s friend/contemporary at graduation, without even having set eyes on that person before, and offer their wisdom. So spread the word far and wide about your future career plans, you never know whose ears might prick up and offer you a golden ticket!


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