Now that you have completed your Leadership essay, you must have a fair idea of how this entire exercise works. Writing the next essay, that is, the Chevening networking essay can be trickier still, as the question of the essay requires a number of points, which have to be answered together in a coherent manner. Following is the statement for the Networking essay:

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.
(Minimum word count: 100 words, maximum word count: 500 words)

To make the formulation of the Chevening networking essay convenient, it is a good idea to extract all the requirements of the question by listing them individually, so you do not skip any part. In this case, the question requires the applicant to:

  • Explain how they
    • Build
    • Maintain professional relationships
  • Give an example to illustrate the aforementioned point
  • Outline how they are going to use their networking skills in the future.

Now, before writing, you need to identify people that can form your professional network out of those that you have associated or interacted with in your life. Those can include:

  • Former class fellows, teachers, or professors.
  • Former or current employees or employers
  • Any organization or professional bodies you have been a member of.

Once there is a list of the people who can form your network, you will be able to think of any meaningful professional relationships that you have with him, which will also bring to mind any occasion where you used your networking skills efficiently to achieve a goal. This means that this exercise will help you evaluate your professional network, and identify any examples that you can use in the essay to highlight your networking abilities.

As discussed above, chevening is looking to understand how you build and maintain relationships, so think along those lines. Think of what strategies you use to connect with people, and how have you stayed in touch with those people over the years? Do you interact with them through social media every once in a while? Do you attend any club meetings where you regularly interact with people? Think of the last person from your office that you communicated with, and remember how that communication took place? Was it over the phone, or via email? Did they ask for your help in something? You should also be thinking about what you hope to achieve by building these connections.

Choosing the example

When thinking of examples for the essay, think of events where you used your network to influence an important outcome or solved a problem. The way you narrate the example should indicate how strong your network is, and how you benefitted from that strong networking ability. It is important to filter out the least impactful examples, and only use the ones that really fulfill the purpose mentioned in the last line.

This brings us to the TRUE approach, much similar to the STAR approach used for the Chevening leadership essay. The TRUE approach will aid you in prioritising your examples and choosing the best one. It is as follows:

T – True. The example should be absolutely true. Do not be tempted to fabricate the ‘perfect’ example to include in your essay because you will be caught. Maintain your honesty and integrity, as you are expected to.
R – Relevant. The example should be relevant to the overall theme of your essay. It is important to remember that the four essays should not be separate, disconnected essays on individual themes. Rather, all four Chevening essays should be interconnected. Be sure to avoid writing anything in one essay that could contradict something in another essay.
U – Unique. Keep your examples unique. Talk about something that truly highlights your ability to network and mutually benefit from important connections. Write about a unique scenario that other people are not likely to have been in, which will make you stand out from other applicants.
E – Exciting. Make the example exciting. Instead of writing in a complex, hard to follow manner, go for smooth narration, and use impactful words to make the story exciting. However, resist the temptation to be dramatic at all costs, and describe the events in a practical and factual manner.

Using this approach will help you write a persuasive essay in a practical manner.

Using your skills in the future

The final part of the essay is about how you are going to use your current networking skills in the future. Chevening is interested to know how you can use your skills to benefit and interact with the wider Chevening community. In this part, first talk about your contribution to the Chevening community while studying in the UK to let them know that you aim to utilize your networking skills to build new connections in the Chevening community. Secondly, talk about how you plan on using your networking capabilities to maintain a strong relationship between the UK and Pakistan upon returning home. You could talk about collaboration between the two countries on projects, for example.

Remember, keep the goal of writing the Chevening networking essay in your mind at all times. It is to demonstrate your potential to form strong networking relationships with people around you that are mutually beneficial, and to fulfill Chevening’s goal of fostering good relationships between the UK and other countries.