7 Networking Tips For International Business Students


The goal for this blog is to inspire professionals to get more international business. But a number of international business students also read the articles here.  Yesterday I received this message on Facebook:

I’m a recent university graduate with a major in marketing I came across ur blog and found it very interesting. I have not found a job yet but my main focus is international marketing maybe in research. I really enjoy studying other cultures. Any advice on where to look for job openings or what my next step should be?

It’s obviously the season for graduates looking for work.

So here are some networking tips for international business students looking for an international career.

#1: Don’t Be Vague

Most of the questions I get from university students are vague about what they want. They don’t really know what they want to do moving forward.

Show people your passion. You’ll eventually find the right circles to hang out in. Follow your interests and let your passion show. This helps others learn more about you and something else will eventually happen. You’ll find the right people to connect with. People from different cultures will find it easier to understand what you want when you let your passion come through your conversations.

#2: Don’t Make Everything About You

The more adventurous students phone me to tell me they’ve just finished their degree and are looking for a job. Now does this interest me? No.

Develop strong professional social networking skills. Social media networking is a great way to develop relationships with people. But you must first connect person-to-person in some way.

#3: Don’t Show Disrespect

Unfortunately most of these phone calls are usually very late in the evening or weekends, times I prefer to spend with my family and friends. That’s a huge turn-off.

Study the people you want to connect with. Find out what time zone they’re on and respect their business hours. Find out what communication methods they prefer.

And then you’ll need to find the best tool to use to connect with them. For example, I use Skype daily… but it’s not an open communication line for everyone to reach me. I only use Skype for my active business contacts and a few people I know in person.

#4: Don’t Go After The Wrong People

All of the messages I receive from university students are not directed to the right person, because:

  • I’m not a career counselor
  • I don’t have a list of job openings tucked away somewhere
  • I don’t keep their messages on file
  • My interests are not focused on university students, and this is very obvious if you spend a few minutes checking out what I do online.

Get clear about who your future hiring manager is and do the research. Research requires work and no one else will do this for you. You may need to spend several weeks to:

  • Network to find out who the right people are and where they are located
  • Find out what they are interested in talking about online
  • Figure out how to connect with them where they are interested in what you have to say

#5: Don’t Be Boring

Boring messages from people you don’t know quickly get deleted and labeled as spam because no one has time for that today.

Develop unique ways to grab attention. Have a look at this example:

Social media is a great way to connect with people who may hire you.

And of course social media can connect you with the right people in different countries too. Why not become familiar with the social networks popular in the countries you want to target? Get on them and network with the right people.

#6: Don’t Stay Stuck

Do you want to continue living in the comfort of the environment you are used to or do you want an international career? These are two conflicting desires. You’ll need to choose one of them and jump in with both feet.

You’ll likely find that people want to help others who take action to achieve their goals.

Adopt guerilla tactics: change country and hustle. If you really want to start an international career and feel stuck: change country. This is what I did. And this is how many people who are in international business started years ago.

Changing country can be a great way to start an international career. You’ll have to get used to being out of your comfort zone.

#7: Change Your Focus

The best advice I can give university graduates is to start taking action.

Become an international business professional. Now. Connect with people, get to know them and give them the opportunity of getting to know you, BEFORE asking for a job.

Now it’s your turn.

  • Do you receive requests from recent graduates looking for international jobs?
  • How do you advise international students looking for work abroad?
  • What’s your best tip for international business students?

What do you think? Please leave your comments below.

Photos from Shutterstock.

  Filed under: International Business

Cindy King