An article by contributor Claire Stewart.
Tired of hearing about networking? Whether this is your first time seeing the word (in which case, get ready, because you’ve got a long way to go) or you’ve been around for a while, know that networking is more than finding a job. That’s the main goal, but it’s also about building successful people and gaining knowledge of the industry. Here are five reasons you should invest time in networking while you’re still in college.
Networking allows you to get advice from professionals in your chosen field. By asking questions and using the information given, you can learn what to focus on in school, how to gear your resume for future applications, and more. With the tips you gain, you’ll be able to avoid some of the common mistakes beginners make.
Going to networking events allows you to meet new people and create a presence with them. The more events you attend, the more companies will notice you trying to learn everything you can before you even start looking for a job. That drive may even prompt some hiring agents to make you a job offer right out of college. Even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll obtain more referrals and connections by putting yourself out there, which will help you once you start the job hunt.
Networking builds your confidence because you must approach people and put forward your best self. You learn how to sell yourself and let someone know why they should get to know you. While it can be scary to put yourself out there to strangers, making important connections grows your potential for the future, and it will also help you in future job interviews because the better you can pitch yourself, the more a company will be interested in you as an employee.
Many friendships can form after networking and getting to know people involved both directly and indirectly in the field. You already have something in common, and therefore have something stable to build your friendship. And who knows, maybe in a few months or years, that friend might hear of a job that would be perfect for you, recommending you for the position and telling you to apply. You might be surprised at how often friends connect other friends to different positions.
Colleges and universities can get better access to activities where you can network. This might be something as simple as an event nearby, or it could be a trip to New York or Washington, DC, where you visit different businesses and organizations. If there is a cost, the university typically covers most of it, if not all of it. This won’t be the case once you graduate. Take advantage of the networking opportunities provided while you’re in college, because that will connect you to people in your field and expose your skills to those who might be interested in you. You never know when or where the perfect job opportunity is going to come, so network as best you can now.
Networking isn’t just about finding a job now. It’s more about the opportunity to find a job in the future. Don’t underestimate the power of networking before getting your degree. It’s one of the best ways to ensure your eventual success for finding the right job in your field. Start networking today.
Claire Stewart is a freelance writer and blogger focused on writing about health, travel, and business among other topics. She graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelors in Women’s Studies and currently lives in Seattle with her goldfish, Merlin.