You have probably heard about the importance of networking.
Many experts today say that when it comes to finding a great job or landing a position with your dream company, your networking abilities are at least as important as what is on your resume. It’s true—networking will be extremely important as you look for jobs and internships. However, many college students make the mistake of thinking that they can wait until their senior year or even until after they graduate to begin learning to network effectively. This isn’t true! It’s absolutely essential to start networking as soon as possible.
Colleges and universities are great places to learn networking skills because of the wide variety of opportunities they provide. You’ll be meeting not only other students, but also professors, administrators, and experts in your field. These are opportunities to take advantage of!
If you’re entering college, your first big opportunity for networking will likely be new student orientation, or freshman orientation. Orientation programs will include events and activities that allow you to meet and mingle with professors, student body leaders, campus administration, and leaders of many different organizations on campus. Whether it is in the moments following a formal lecture or during a calm evening at a barbeque, these events will give you opportunities to begin to network with these individuals. As you practice this craft and develop your networking skills, you’ll find that it becomes increasingly natural for you to do, and you’ll also find yourself building up a web of contacts who can help you during your university experience and beyond.
These individuals—the campus leaders, administrators, advisers, and educators you meet —will be the contacts and individuals to whom you turn to for references and employment opportunities in the future. Don’t forget that because networking takes practice, no contact is ever wasted—even if you don’t end up in that individual’s field, you still will have become more skilled at networking by doing it as much as possible.
From the moment you step onto campus to attend freshman/new student orientation, you will be surrounded with networking opportunities.
Have fun learning and adjusting to college life, but don’t forget to make the most of the rich experiences that are available to you there.
– Team yoU