To bridge the gap between school and the professional world, it's important to equip students with essential skills and information needed in their future careers and the world of work . Building the foundation for good professional networking skills starts in school, and in this article, Toorak College's Futures Specialist Coco Callanan shares networking tips to help build relationships beyond the classroom, expand your network and prepare for life post graduation.

Networking as an opportunity to kick-start your dream career

The world of work is rapidly evolving and to thrive in it we must prepare students to embrace lifelong learning and continuous professional development. As students begin thinking about their future careers, it can become overwhelming. With new technologies, industries and job roles emerging every day, as well as new models of working, it can be difficult to know how to prepare for a successful career.

Choosing a career path or university course can seem like an insurmountable task, especially without sufficient exposure to various options. We understand how important it is for students to have access and exposure to a wide range of university and career opportunities to help them make informed decisions about their futures.

How Toorak College helps students develop connections and networks

Our Student Futures program provides students with a wide range of scaffolded experiences that help them build their skills and professional networks, as well as paid cadetship opportunities for our Year 12 graduates.

Through our program, students have access to career workshops, university talks, networking events, and industry immersion experiences that expose them to different industries and provide opportunities to meet people from a wide range of fields. This exposure helps students make new connections, gain a deeper understanding of the skills required for different careers, the challenges that professionals face in the workplace, and the opportunities that exist in different sectors.

Toorak College proudly partners with a range of corporate organisations, including Downer Group, Cell Care, NAB and Amazon Web Service, to foster our student career education development. Through our partnership programs students graduate with existing network connections and work-ready skills that leave them well-placed to excel within their chosen career path.

5 networking tips for students to build their professional skills and connections

Embrace new experiences

In a rapidly changing professional world, embracing new experiences is key to seizing opportunities, meeting new people and building relationships with people who can help students proceed in their chosen fields. Trying new things and stepping outside of their comfort zone can help students build their resilience and adaptability which are essential skills for navigating complex and ambiguous situations in the world of work.

Whether it's taking part in industry-specific workshops, training programmes or volunteer work, each new experience will contribute to students' personal growth.

By embracing the unfamiliar, students find themselves better equipped to handle the dynamics of a professional workplace.

Start to build a network of professional connections

Building a strong professional network isn't just about small talk, exchanging business cards with potential clients or connecting on LinkedIn: it can start in school by fostering meaningful connections with peers and different industry contacts.

This can be achieved through joining groups such as Toorak College’s ‘Empower Network’, industry associations or groups, volunteering and working in the community. Saying yes to networking events and community involvement opens doors to new contacts, opportunities and career advancement, and helps establish valuable connections with mentors who can offer guidance when students progress in their career goals.

There are many ways to leave a lasting impression on potential professional connections, whether it be participating in events and activities face to face, connecting on social media platforms or attending a networking event in their field of interest.

Problem-solve and develop critical thinking

No matter which industry a student is heading towards, problem-solving is a universal skill that students can learn and apply throughout their education journey. Problem-solving skills can be developed through activities such as debates and discussions, engaging in analytical reading and writing, participating in group projects, seeking out diverse perspectives and feedback and learning from mistakes.

Developing a knack for problem-solving not only improves academic experience but also equips students with a valuable skill sought by employers and industry professionals.

Continual growth and quest for opportunities

Students who embrace and embody continual growth and learning will become experts at recognising opportunities in their future job search and expanding their skillset.

To support this growth, we encourage students to take advantage of opportunities for research and learning. They can seek out opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and engage in co-curricular activities that challenge them to think critically and creatively.

Keeping an open mind and remaining curious across different subjects during a time when students' interests might still be developing ensures students face a wider range of future prospects when they head towards graduation.

Communicate and collaborate

To network effectively later in professional life, students must become confident communicators. Communication and collaboration skills are essential for navigating complex situations in the workplace and can be developed through group projects and collaborative learning experiences. These activities teach students the value of teamwork, how to articulate ideas clearly, the art of listening, as well as appreciation for different working styles.

Becoming a confident team player is one of the most important skills students can foster through their education, and it will help them thrive in any industry they’re hoping to work in.

If you would like to discuss how your business can partner with Toorak College, please email your expression of interest to

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