Teaching school pupils the importance of networking not only equips them with valuable social skills but also fosters a mindset that recognises the significance of building professional relationships for future academic and career success.

Mr Macpherson led a session with S6 this week, opening up the conversation on why developing interpersonal skills is essential to cultivate effective communication, empathy, and collaboration. These are all crucial attributes that enhance both personal relationships and future professional endeavours.

Highlighting the importance of building their digital footprint, Mr Macpherson also raised awareness of the long-lasting impact of positive online activities, encouraging responsible and thoughtful use of digital platforms to shape an impressive professional online image. He emphasised a quote from Susan RoAne, author of ‘How to Work a Room’,  “It’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you.”

Helen (S6), commented: “I found Mr Macpherson's talk to be beneficial because it opened my eyes to the use of social media as a tool for helping me network and build a professional career, as opposed to simply being a way to stay connected to family and friends.”

Mr Macpherson, Head of College, shared: “Developing strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence is the foundation for effective communication and collaboration. It is essential to appreciate the significance of building a professional network through in person events and via online platforms like LinkedIn. When other professionals come across you online, what will they see? You can shape that by showcasing the skills you have, the things you are interested in, and the projects you have contributed towards. Most first impressions are now made online, so knowing how to make that a good one is vitally important.

“Networking never features on the list of ‘21st century skills’, but I think it absolutely should be considered as a core skill. It takes time and experience to learn how to do it well, and to build your own network. It is not just about making connections, but cultivating relationships that can help shape your future.  I encourage pupils to be mindful of your digital footprint, review it and shape it, as a reflection of your character and aspirations. It is your online presence that often precedes you!

“We also discussed our global alumni network who provide mentoring support to our current and former pupils, offering a wealth of experience and knowledge to support and mentor them as they consider and navigate careers beyond school.”

Networking: Why and How