Expanding and strengthening your network while in uni
Going to university always holds boundless opportunities, both professional and personal. This includes meeting people who can help you achieve your goals. But especially now, it’s difficult to meet people organically, meaning you also need to network.
Reaching out is integral in building your network. This network can help you fulfil your dream career or make your business idea come to fruition.
There is an estimation that at least 50% of jobs are filled through networking. Hence, the best way to start building your network is while you are still in university.
Benefits of networking for students
The more you learn about networking, the better prepared you will be for your future.
According to Michelle Dipp, the co-founder and managing partner of Biospring Partners, “Networking is a great way to know more about your industry. It also helps level up your social game, meet multiple mentors in your field, and connect you to better opportunities.” Apart from that, networking allows you to get noticed, stand out in a good way, and meet the right people.
Knowing some of the essential benefits of networking, let’s now proceed with a couple of networking tips.
1. Visit the campus career centre
To begin building your network, you should visit your career centre (so you’ve come to the right place!).
That’s because career offices often collaborate with academic departments, student organisations, and prospective employers. This in hopes of helping their past and current students find employment and business opportunities.
In short, one of the main goals of a career office is to connect you with the right individuals to help you with your professional career.
2. Be involved on campus
You’d find that many universities have numerous groups, clubs, and associations. You can join these organisations to broaden your opportunities and meet new people, on and off-campus.
So go out there, and meet people that you know will help change the world someday. You’ll find that this is one of the best times that intelligent and interesting people surround you.
If you can’t find a specific group or club that you’re interested in, then you can even use the opportunity to start one.
3. Connect with people online
Ever since the rise of social media, you can now use various social media platforms to connect with influential people online.
You can join online conversations on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also take advantage of this opportunity to get in touch with prospective employers, experts in your industry, passionate people in your craft, and so on.
4. Engage with your faculty
When it comes to classes you need to take to complete your course, it’s imperative to participate in the discussion. This includes asking questions and seeking consultations.
After all, your professors can answer your questions. Otherwise, they can lead you to the right people who do. It could be another professor, someone else in their industry, or one of their previous students.
Who knows? These can be the people you need to help achieve your goals.
Your professor’s introductions are often deemed a form of endorsement, leading to productive networking later on. Similarly, you can also ask your professor for a reference letter.
So, why not set up a consultation hour with your professor and start reaching out to the people who can help build your career?
5. Get an internship or part-time job
Working for a company that will ultimately help you reach your career goal is something you should continually strive for. This will provide you with an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals in your field. Connecting with student placement services plays a vital role in this step.
You can also use this time to get to know others, asking critical questions.
You can again stay in touch after you leave that particular job or internship, even if it’s just a quick update via email for the next couple of months.
6. Attend social events
Some uni students don’t like attending social functions. However, if you aspire to succeed in your career, then you should take the time to participate in these social events.
Whether this is an event that your university or an organisation organised, this can be an opportunity to connect with industry thought leaders.
7. Land an informational interview
Do you want to connect with specific people where you work as an intern? Perhaps a professor, an industry thought leader or one of the employees you work with?
Why not request an informational interview with them so that you’ll get to learn about what they do to get where they are?
You can contact them via email, phone or conduct a face-to-face interview with them.
8. Make the first move
If you want to reach out to people, don’t be afraid to make the first move. Don’t wait around for a person to approach and start talking to you.
Be prepared to take the lead, and start the conversation.
9. Maintain your networks
Networking is a lot of hard work. Even so, you should invest some time trying to maintain your connections. Let’s say that you meet someone at a job fair or a conference, then you can use that opportunity to send them an email afterward. Even if they aren’t offering the perfect job opportunity right now, you can tell them how much you appreciate them talking to you.
No matter what school or university you are enrolled in, building your network will make your life a lot easier post-graduation. Be deliberate in finding opportunities wherein you can meet people who can help build your future.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels
Andi Croft is a freelance writer whose main interests are topics related to business, technology, and travel. This is brought about by her passion about going around the world, meeting people from all walks of life, and bringing along with her the latest tech to enhance her adventures.