Expert advice

The Courage to Network

Adam Smith
Head of the Language Department Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School (KCI)

Networking is an important part of the job search. But you have to meet new people – scary! But don’t worry: I’ll share some principles and tips here that will help you overcome these challenges and build your courage.

After graduating with my business degree, I traveled to Australia for a year. There, I got a job selling electricity door to door (sexy product, I know 🙂 I had a script to memorize, rehearsed scenarios and learned when to know the customer wasn’t interested. Scary! But I had to do it: I was getting paid 100% commission, so if I didn’t sell, I wouldn’t eat. 


This need should help you overcome the fear: you have to work to eat! And to work, you need a little script, you need to know how to engage in small talk, and you need to know when to end the discussion. Practice with a friend!


When visiting administrators, remember that they don’t know you, they are constantly solving problems and they are very busy. So, introduce yourself and your teaching qualifications, explain that you are available to teach any subject that interests you – even at the last minute like fail-to-fill – and keep it short. Finish by thanking them for their time and offering to send them your resume and cover letter. Be polite, friendly and professional. You need to give them the impression that you can handle classes well and professionally, but also that the students will like you.


Yes, it’s scary at first, but it gets easier with each attempt. You can do it!