After I gave some tips on the Understanding The 4 Chevening Essays: Part 1 Leadership and Influence post, I am going to give you other tips for the Chevening second essay: Part 2 Networking.
Besides leadership and influence, Chevening also emphasizes networking skills. Networking is essential for professionals as it can speed up the process to realize the vision. Those who have good networking are most likely to achieve their target faster than those who don’t.
For the networking essay, I might give you a slightly different approach than what you have read on other blogs. But firstly, let’s read the networking question.
Understanding The Question
“Chevening is looking for individuals with strong professional relationship-building skills, who will engage with the Chevening community and influence and lead others in their chosen profession. Please explain how you build and maintain relationships in a professional capacity, using clear examples of how you currently do this, and outline how you hope to use these skills in the future.”
Before writing your answer, you need to have a good understanding of the question. From the question above, it is clear that Chevening is looking for someone who has professional relationship-building skills. It means that what you need to show is professional networking skills, not personal ones.
You need to also pay attention to the keywords: building, engage, influence, and maintain. What I did on my essays were to breakdown those words, like this:
1. Building: How did/ do I build good professional networking skills?
2. Engage: How can I engage with my professional network?
3. Influence: How can I make an influence using my professional networking skills?
By answering the questions above in bullet points, I had ideas to be written in my essay.
What to Write in The Opening Paragraph
The opening paragraph should explain your understanding of networking skills. Again, ask yourself: What is networking? Why is it important? What network do I have? How has the network helped me in the past?
By now you might realize that I like questioning myself, but it worked for planning my winning scholarship essays. I took this strategy from journalism writing, a career that I had in the past. Then the next paragraphs will be used to break down and explain more the argumentation you write in the opening paragraph.
Networking Essay’s Structure
On the networking essay, the pattern is the same as the leadership and influence essay. After planning the opening paragraph, you need to plan the body and the closing paragraphs. Plan it using an outline. I always emphasize the importance of writing an outline. You can see the template in the previous post.
To give you an illustration, I will give you an example:
Opening Paragraph: Explaining why networking skills are crucial and professional network I have
Body 1: Explaining how I built my network
Body 2: Explaining my network in my country and how is useful for my career and to help others
Body 3: Explaining my international network and how is it useful for my career
Closing: How Chevening can help to expand my network and how I intend to use my network in the future
From this, I developed into a more detailed outline. For each paragraph, you can develop any ideas that you think will be relevant to answer the question. You can also use STAR for the body paragraphs. But, in my opinion, START should only be used to explain the example as support. You still need to write the main idea and the supporting ideas.
Networking Skills Should Make an Impact on Others?
There are many people who say that you need to show on your networking essay, a direct impact from the networking skills that you have on other people. I don’t agree with this opinion. If you read the question carefully, it is stated “influence and leads others” not “helping others”. Thus, networking skills will benefit us as an individual to achieve our aims.
What we have to show is how do we take advantage of our networking skills for our benefit. Because a network that is not taken advantage of will be useless. You might know a minister, successful business owner, CEO, professor, but if you don’t know how to utilize them for your professional needs, then you don’t have good networking skills just yet. Therefore, show how your network CAN HELP YOU, which eventually will help others.
I wrote the complete version of how to write a networking essay on my book Rahasia Pemburu Beasiswa (currently in Bahasa only).