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University Students’ Guide for Building Your Network
You would often hear other people say, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. This proves how important networking is. And while our talents and skills are important for our careers, you should also remember that many people land on their dream jobs because of their connections. And to answer the question, when should you start networking? The answer is right now.
Start to meet people and build your network as early as college. In fact, even before that is better. But of course, some of us are not innately built to be social. Thus, we created this post. We will share with you a number of proven and tested techniques on how you can expand your connections right away.
Visit Your University’s Career Office
More often than not, colleges have their own career offices. You can start from there as they apparently have a list of contact persons from different industries. It would be better if you have an idea of the career path you want to take. That way, you can target the right persons to reach out to.
Join Clubs and Organizations
Another venue where you can meet new people is if you join different organizations. Do not limit yourself to clubs within your university. There are other groups outside of your school where you can join. But be careful and picky, as you would want to associate yourself to clubs that have good standing.
In addition, make sure that you can commit to the club’s activities. You do not join just for the heck of meeting people. You should be genuinely interested and willing to share your knowledge as well. That’s how you are going to form authentic relationships.
Also, even if you are still young or in college, you can check your local chamber of commerce. It’s always a good idea to join professional organizations even if you are still obviously finishing your degree. This could be your advantage in the long run.
Take Advantage of the Social Media
Social media, as the name suggests, is primarily to form networks online. According to reports, there are more or less 200,000 new LinkedIn accounts made every month by college students. Imagine how wide your potential network could be. Work on your Linkedin profile, and start sending messages as early as now. Likewise, join Facebook groups and communities.
Reach Out to Professors
A lot of professors provide their office hours, but only a few students take advantage of it. If you want to get more valuable people in your network, exert an effort to meet your professors not just in your class. In fact, even if you are not taking a specific class under them, it still pays to get to know them. They could be your mentor, and in fact, could introduce you to people within the industry.
Connect With Your Families and Friends
What most college students often forget is that they already have their own private network that they can reach out to. You will be surprised by the network that your relatives and friends have. If possible, you can even ask your friends’ parents if they can help you connect with the necessary people.
We understand that it could be quite uncomfortable at first. But no one says that networking is an easy task. You really have to be intentional and you need to work hard to build a good one.
Send Email Messages to Industry Leaders
Yes, you can do this. And the best time to do so is while you are still in college. You can send a message to prominent people and ask about the tips they could give to a younger person such as yourself. Trust us, these people are very generous in providing tips to those who seek it. If you are lucky enough, then you can even schedule an interview with them.
Volunteering and Part-Time Jobs
During summer vacations or college breaks, use your time wisely. If you can volunteer or do part-time jobs, that could also help build your network.
You see, when you are trying to create a solid network, it doesn’t matter where you are. The rule of the game is to meet as many people as you can. And you can only do this if you expose yourself. You also have to be genuinely kind to your colleagues. It doesn’t matter if they are the delivery guys or the janitor. You should treat everyone with respect.
Make it a habit to network every day. Once you get the hang on it, it will be a regular part of your day and it is easier for you to form connections. Sooner or later, you will be able to use it for your career or business.
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