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For College Grads, Networking Rules

Posted May. 25, 2006 03:58,   


Lee Han-jin, a 25-year-old senior at Yonsei University majoring in sociology, has a business card that reads, “I want to be the best in the public relations field. I am interested in publicity planning and international exchange”

Lee is accomplishing his dreams step-by-step. In February 2005, he was in charge of the planning and publicity of the “Northeast Asian Network Yonsei Leadership Forum,” where college students from other countries discussed current issues in Northeast Asia. Back in November 2004, Lee worked as a planner and an interpreter of the “World Solar City Congress 2004.” The same year he worked as an interpreter at the “UNESCO 21st Century Dialogues.”

This January, Lee organized a volunteer club “M.O.V.E” and is working out several cultural events of foreign embassies in Korea. He is also planning to participate in the “United Nations Environment Program” internship later this year. While taking part in many events, Lee got to know as many as 700 people and is still in touch with them at least once a week. He said, “I get information about new jobs and event planning through many people. I am sure that my friends are my greatest assets.”

Nowadays, there are many people who play an active role in many activities and establish their own human network. Those people are not dependent on regional and academic relations. Instead, they explore many parts of the world in which they are interested. While the old style networks such as alumni associations are getting weaker, the individual’s capability is getting stronger. As a result, now there are many students building their own human network according to various goals such as their interests or employment.

Kim Mu-gon, a professor of Mass Communication and Journalism at Dongguk University, said, “In the past, graduating from a ‘prestigious university’ was important for a person to succeed. But now, it is important to know how to co-exist in many relationships.”

This means that the world where “know what” was important is changing into a world where “know who” is important.

Having a broad human network helps you to get a job these days. On the other hand, even though you get a good score in TOEIC or GPA, it will be hard to get a job if you are an “alone in the library” type of person.

In April, Mun Ho-seong, a Spanish major senior from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, got a job at Kia Motors Corporation in Sweden thanks to the YTC. YTC is an organization composed of people who completed a training course provided by the Korea International Trade Association.

An intern who was working for Kia’s Sweden branch and also had a good reputation recommended Mun. Mun was experienced in the trading business as he worked at LG International (America), Inc. In addition, he is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Mun said, “If I didn’t have the YTC network, I wouldn’t have even known that there was a vacancy at Kia. The interview went well because the YTC member gave me some information about what the company’s atmosphere is, what kind of person the company wants, and what kind of people are working there.”

Lee Nae-hwa (49), director of Dale Carnegie Training, said, “The network index equals the success index in the 21st century. In order to succeed, one will have to make a road map of their own, manage their human network, and show that one is very active.”