Networking is essential for every college student because it could lead to potential careers or opportunities. By taking the time to reach out and connect with someone, you’re able to build relationships that could benefit you in the future. Here are the reasons why networking is essential as a college student.
Peers Could Be Potential Colleagues
College is the perfect place to meet people who have the same interests and future career paths as yourself. While most people think that networking involves connecting with people who have already established a career for themselves, this isn’t always the case. The people you meet throughout your classes, clubs, and student organizations are the people you should not only work with but befriend as well. For instance, suppose you’re a film student pursuing directing and your classmate has a focus in editing. You can utilize one another’s skills to create future content together. Whether this content is created to apply for grad school, personal use, or even for future jobs, by building that relationship with your peer, you and they can work together to reach the same goal. Networking and building relationships with your peers is just as important as networking with the owner of a company you want to work for. You never know when that connection will come in handy.
Professors Can Provide Recommendations
Similar to your peers, building relationships with your professors is just as important. A good majority of the time, your professors have experience in the field you’re pursuing. If you’re a journalism student, there’s a good chance your professor was a journalist themselves. This goes for every major. Therefore, by building a strong relationship with your professor, they could introduce you to their contacts or point you in the direction of who you should be networking with. Additionally, once it comes time to apply for grad school or interview for job positions, a recommendation from them will be crucial. It’s important to utilize the connections with your professors, for all you know, they could help you land your first job or future jobs to come.
Attending Events Related To Your Major
For most colleges and universities, it’s not uncommon for them to host an internship and career fair at least once a year. This event is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and network with professionals in your field. The whole purpose of these events is to get college students networking. In addition to this, some schools will also host COM Day events for communication students, Business Day for business students, Hospitality Day for event management students, and more. As a college student, it’s important to attend these events and speak with people who hold positions that you’re working towards. Not only will meeting these people get your foot in the door, but you can ask them for advice and pick their brain about the field you’re interested in. If your school doesn’t host these types of events, look online and see if there are events in the area related to your major. For example, every year, hundreds of people attend the Boston Film Festival, both students and professionals. This would be the perfect event for any film or communication student to attend. There are plenty of networking opportunities out there, you just have to know where to look.
LinkedIn Is A Stepping Stone
LinkedIn is the Facebook of the career world. Although you wouldn’t post pictures from your teenage angst phase and it’s not appropriate to share cat videos, although some of them are hilarious, you can do a lot with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is great for connecting with people who have established careers in the industry you’re pursuing. With the click of a button, you can view other people’s profiles and see how much experience they have in your field. Whether they just graduated, are completing an internship, or are highly successful, it’s important to connect with as many people as possible. Once the person you’ve connected with has accepted your request, send them a quick message introducing yourself and ask if they’d like to meet for coffee. While LinkedIn is perfect for accessing connections, it’s up to you to take the initiative to reach out to professionals, whether it be virtually or physically. By taking this leap, you’re opening yourself up to multiple opportunities. Best of all, some professionals will post job opportunities or future events which will lead to even more networking.
Business Cards Come In Handy
I’ll admit that with our advanced technologies, handing out business cards can seem a bit outdated. However, you never know when or where you’re going to meet someone with connections to your field. For a decent price, you can purchase multiple business cards to carry with you at all times. These business cards don’t have to be fancy in the slightest, they can simply state your name, your major, and your contact information. Whether you’re attending an event related to your major or you meet someone while working the job that put you through college, having a business card on you is efficient and professional. In addition to this, you can hand them your business card in person then connect with them on LinkedIn. By giving them your business card, you’re setting an impression and making yourself memorable. You wouldn’t want to give a future employer a piece of scrap paper with your number on it and you may not have the time to exchange numbers in your phones, so having a business card will save you from missed opportunities.