Chevening is looking for individuals with strong professional relationship building skills...
cultivating my professional relationships
When I began working at the (current job) I quickly realized that would be working closely with not only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but personnel in all other government ministries, political party leaders, media organizations, students, and members in the local diaspora in (my country) to name a few. Ministries of: Social Transformation and Human Resource Development, Health and the Environment, Education, Science and Technology; Economic Development, Agriculture, and all accredited embassies here.
As a novice to this field initially, the majority of my initial contact with these individuals began via telephone and email when scheduling interviews between these entities and the ambassador or the counsellor. The connections seamlessly evolved to in-person interaction when I went to the actual locations and vice versa to fulfill my job duties or when hosting embassy diplomatic functions. Thus my method for building and maintaining professional relationships is to find common ground, stay in touch appropriately, and offer my assistance to reap the mutually beneficial results of networking.
After Disaster X devastated (my country), the (name of donor country) wanted to support the recovery efforts by making a tangible donation. Having previously established connections with key players, I utilized the relationships within my network to work with the ambassador and communicate directly with the Chairman of the Port Authority, the Director of the National Office of Disaster Services and other entities to arrange the berthing of the cargo vessel bearing relief supplies. Normally one has to submit a written request for media coverage in advance, but the arrival time had changed twice, time was of the essence. A receptionist in my network put me in touch with the Director of News and Current Affairs at the nation's lone TV station and thankfully secured actual video footage coverage which served highlighting the story as a testament to the strong relationship between our countries.
Reciprocally, someone in my network connected the Dean of Student Affairs at the local College to me in an effort to secure a Q&A session with the ambassador (given his heavy schedule) and students in the Political Studies class about relations between the (country1) and (country2) . It was also an opportunity for students to network by asking questions about and requesting information regarding scholarship opportunities in (country1), of which
I hope to continue cultivating my professional relationships so as to grow my network to include students, professors, and other professionals in the UK. I anticipate promoting the Chevening program by leveraging my connection with Chevening alumni, media personnel and educational institutions on island, to, for example, deliver presentations at the college's annual Career fair in order to recruit future scholars and help widen the Chevening network. I expect to exchange information with the existing Chevening alumni in the field of international relations to learn of opportunities which lead to increased knowledge and career advancement. My established interconnected professional webs with an array of entities and virtually every government ministry in (my country) on a daily basis should prove beneficial to Chevening alumni in varying fields.
[Contributor] - / 7,610 1954
You need to rethink this essay. You are trying to overwhelm the reviewer with so much information that he will tend to forget rather than remember this essay. Revise this essay in the following manner, per paragraph:
1. Fully explain what you job title and duties description is at the agency that you work for. Transition into the disaster.
2. Describe the kind of work that needed to be accomplished in terms of rehabilitation of your country after the disaster.
3. Explain your networking method. Indicate how you used this method to gain the attention of the ambassador.
4. What did you manage to accomplish through your face to face meeting with the ambassador?
5. What other local agencies did you network with in order to get the work done? What was the time frame?
6. Remove the reference to the local university interview. That distracts from the more important topic which is your network use during a time of calamity.
7. Never use the term "receptionist". That is not considered a very high title in any profession. A receptionist is not believed to have the kind of networking skills required to help you get the airtime that you needed. Consider a better sounding term for your contact or just imply that you created this media contact in a different way.
8. Explain why you needed to have a media contact. How did that relate to the outreach efforts of the ambassador's country? How was their coverage relevant to your work?
9. Based on the strength of this network and the outcome of the project, what sort of career advancement did it offer you? Were to recognized? Given some sort of award? What makes this networking event important to you career wise?
These revisions to your essay should make it better directed, focused, and relevant in content. Right now, this essay is not very convincing in terms of networking skills but the changes should help create a better and more believable impression of your networking skills. Keep your last paragraph as your closing statement. It works and closes the essay on a relevant note.
Thank you for those suggestions. I will "go back to the drawing board" and post again. Thank you very much.
To avoid duplication of information, I decided to use different examples for this essay. Please give me some feedback after critiquing. I appreciate your time.
Coconut trees, white sand, and crystal clear beaches are some of the things which the Caribbean is known for in providing the perfect vacation to relax and be laid back. The phrase "island time" synonymous with Caribbean culture, means taking life slow and that some things do not necessarily need to assume a schedule. Unfortunately at times, this laid back disposition translates to some work environments. Hence, when things of great importance need to be done in a timely manner, it is crucial to have a strong and reliable network. Thus, my method for building and maintaining professional relationships is to find common ground, stay in touch appropriately, and offer my assistance to reap the mutually beneficial results of networking. As a result of this, initial interactions that began with telephone calls to secure appointments and exchange information have overtime been nurtured and grown into sound professional relationships.
My current position as Secretary to the Ambassador of (Mexico) enables me to be in frequent contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all other government ministries in (name of my country). I frequently interact with these contacts in fulfilment of my job duties, at diplomatic receptions and was introduced to others by the Ambassador and contacts in my network who connected me to their contacts.
Through the years working at the Embassy, I have extended my network to include graduates of (Mexico) working in an array of fields, media personnel, political party leaders, and the Governor General's Chancery. In the last year, as a precursor to the arrival of President XYZ, I used my established connection with the Governor General's private secretary who connected with the Permanent Secretary and the Aide de Camp to secure a next day tour of the Government House for a protocol delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico in relation to the XYZ Summit VII.
Reciprocally, I assisted a contact in her professional network at the Government House who was part of the planning committee for a charity event put on by the 123 Foundation, by connecting that person with residents from the Mexican community in my network. The committee wanted to include Mexican menu items at the charity event since one of the selling points was a variety of cultural cuisines.
I hope to continue cultivating my professional ...
[Contributor] - / 7,610 1954
Nicole, this is a charming networking essay. It is indeed laid back and relaxed in presentation. It isn't as notable as it can be due to the over relaxed method of discussion but that might just work to your benefit in the end, or maybe not. The whole networking presentation is amicable and smooth sailing. There was no real issue involved that required a notable use of your network except to fix diplomatic schedules for the visit. While It does show a network in action, I wonder if the reviewer will take this to describe a truly usable network as the people involved seem to be of minor importance in the diplomatic corps. They people you networked with sound more like assistants than people of actual importance. Then again, networks have to start small and build itself up from there.
There was no outcome presented for the visit though. You need to present the outcome as your network played a great deal of importance in the scheduling and implementation of the visit. You may want to highlight that your group had a successful event because the network you contacted did a good job of supporting your group needs.
Since this networking essay focuses on international networking and the diplomatic officers, you may want to make it a bit more animated in the presentation and interesting in discussion. The essay is currently falling on the flat side of a presentation at the moment so you need to liven it up a bit. Issues that came up that could have derailed the visit, potential scheduling problems, or anything else that may involve your network in resolving issues related to the visit should help to give more life and a more interesting depiction of the event in relation to your network participation.
Understood. Based on your feedback it is clear to me that I need to expand on the fact that through networking I was able to secure a visit for the NEXT DAY instead of having to write a formal letter in advance. As always I really appreciate your objective perspective. Will revisit and liven it up a bit :-). Thanks Holt!
Permanent Secretary is the most senior civil servant of a British government ministry, charged with running the department on a day-to-day basis
An Aide-de-Camp is a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military, police or government officer, or to a member of a royal family or a head of state
(Within the actual essay I did not define both positions as they are also used in the UK government system, with which the reviewer should be familiar. I provided the definition to give some context to the level/position of each person mentioned in my first example in the essay)
[Contributor] - / 7,610 1954
The essay is acceptable. While the second networking sample is not as impressive as the first one (the level of importance of your personal network in relation to its usefulness to others is also noteworthy in terms of networking consideration. Am important activity that you helped to network creates a semblance of importance for yourself in the essay.), it does establish that you have a shareable network that is of importance to your line of work and hopefully, to the rest of the Chevening community in the future. Basically, this is a well developed essay that you can use for your application at this point. It is clear and definitive to a certain extent. It allows the reviewer to understand what your professional background is and how it might relate to your future studies all while responding to the prompt itself.
This is a simply written essay that does not overcomplicate the networking presentation and should be of note to the reviewer because of the political impact your network serves both to your country and other countries that do business with you. It helps to support your leadership and influencing essay which is an important connecting factor that may be considered of value to your application.
Thank you so very much for your feedback. Regarding the second example, I chose that one to demonstrate that I reciprocated the assistance to the same organization that assisted me in the first example. Do you think it is possible for me to use a second example that is equally impressive as the first, but related to a different organization in my network? (I was under the assumption that my reciprocal networking had to be for the same people/organization who assisted me). What do you think?
[Contributor] - / 7,610 1954
Definitely use the second stronger example that is as impressive at the first. I can understand why you would want to use the reciprocating discussion for it. However, showing that you can be approached by a different organization, which further shows the extent of your international network (which is good for the essay). You don't have to limit yourself to related discussions. The discussion may be unrelated to the first topic, but shows a greater extent of your personal network, which will be more impressive as you can show that you are not limited in terms of professional networks. It is the way that these networks are used on both ends that will make the impression on the reviewer. If they carry impressive examples and uses, then all the more you should be proud to discuss the network in the essay.
Great. Thank you so very much.
I want to finalize all my essays so that I can submit my application by the end of this week. Kindly provide some feedback and comment on suitability for this being my final draft worthy of submission. I am ready to be done with the essays, but I also want them to be ready. Please advise. Thank you.
I have changed the example in the 2nd paragraph. In this example, the Clerk of the Parliaments is also a position used in the UK parliamentary system, so the reviewer should be familiar with the position and its functions. In the last sentence of paragraph 2, I am not sure which word to use: networking/meeting
It was one of the most anticipated visits in the history of (my country). President John Doe, President of (name of foreign country) would be coming to (my country) for the 123 Summit VII. His very first time here and his last official visit as President of (foreign country). The President was scheduled to arrive in a matter of days and his security team had to undertake numerous site visits within a short space of time. One of my responsibilities was to book in 24 hours the Government House site visit where a historic meeting was set to take place. Pressed for time yet remaining calm, I used my established connection with the Governor General's private secretary who in turn connected with the Permanent Secretary and the Aide de Camp, to secure a tour of the Government House the following day for the security team. As a result of utilizing my network connection, this enabled the team to organize without delay the security logistics of the Government House resulting in the successful live broadcast meeting between President John Doe and the Governor General of (my country).
Connected to Members of Parliament and Senators and having established a solid relationship with her through the years, the Clerk of the Parliaments requested my assistance to speak with the Ambassador regarding an important aspect related to the functionality of the Parliament. Having briefed the Ambassador on her behalf, I then arranged for her a meeting with him to further discuss this vital subject. This networking/meeting resulted in the initialization of the process to acquire an important equipment used by the presidential security team and one which will significantly improve parliamentary security.
My method for building and maintaining professional relationships is to find common ground, stay in touch appropriately, and offer my assistance to reap the mutually beneficial results of networking. Consequently, initial interactions that began with telephone calls to secure appointments and exchange information transitioned to personal interactions which overtime have been attentively nurtured and have grown into sound professional relationships. I have built relationships with key personnel in every government ministry as a result of the many collaborative projects between (Mexico) and my country in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, education, infrastructure, tourism, disaster mitigation and human resource development.
I hope to continue cultivating my ...
[Contributor] - / 7,610 1954
Nicole, you need a transition paragraph between paragraph 1 and 2. There is an abrupt change int he direction of the discussion that leaves the reader wondering about the connection between the two events which do not seem related at all. The transition paragraph should say something like:
Since I am one of the few people in direct contact with my country's ambassador, I function as a networking bridge between him and other countries in more ways than one. Aside from the notable visit of (president mentioned previously), I have also helped others who required access to the ambassador but could not seem to find a way to contact him. That was the situation of the Clerk of Parliaments when she was seeking an audience with the ambassador.
If you go over the 500 word count because of the transition paragraph, then revise the later paragraph in relation to how you create and maintain your network and also, what you hope to achieve via networking with the Chevening community. Shorten the presentations in order to create a stronger impression where it counts in the essay.
As for your question about the sentence in the second paragraph, use the term meeting as the situation refers to the discussion between the two leaders, after you placed them in contact with one another.
Once you have created the transition paragraph, the essay will be ready for you to use. It will a notable representation of your network and should be able to depict your application from a position of strength when compared to other applicants whose networking credentials may be just as strong as yours.
Thank you so very much. You helped me maintain my sanity throughout this whole process ;-)