The two core objectives, when a student joins a university to pursue his/her higher education, are to learn and to get a Degree, but there’s more to the college experience than just the classroom learning. Ample of opportunities to get involved present themselves and what goes unnoticed is the importance of networking. Networking is a great way to connect with others in and out of your field and create opportunities for yourself at college and in the future. For all the new students who get an admission in graduate schools, networking is critical for both, personal growth and career progress. It offers a terrific platform to showcase and share ideas, skills and knowledge. Be it a feedback or a detailed analysis of your point of view, networking will help you both, enhance and expand your knowledge, and allow you to see things from other’s perspective. By surrounding yourself with people with similar thought process and ambition, you are more likely to move forward as a larger group. This business of networking (a business term for socialising) includes getting to know acquaintances, their interests, what they prefer to do as a hobby, and occasionally reaching out to them when you have an opportunity for them, or if they can help you in your tasks. Creating your own circle via socialising is a win-win relationship both professionally and personally.
It always proves to be favorable to be a “go getter”. Networking mostly leads to exciting opportunities. Be it a recommendation, partnership offer or a request for your service or product, it is important to be ready to seize opportunities when they come along. In fact, chatting with new people and exchanging intellectual ideas helps you boost your confidence and plays a major role in career growth and making connections.
The following are some of the ways in which you can build your network in your university :
1. Build-up a rapport with your professor – A strong reference from a professor will always add credits to your account. Get to know your professors well by greeting them, sitting in front row, being regular with the sessions and interacting with them. Make sure that you get noticed by him/her and start building up a strong rapport.
2. Interact with classmates – You will find many opportunities to talk to your classmates – be it due to a professor running late or a group working on common project etc. This is the time to put your smart phone down and have some chit chats with your acquaintances. This will help you in making new friends, learning about their interests, and aspirations, and might broaden your vision too.
3. Become a member of student organisation – Schools and universities have various student bodies, departments and clubs. Joining them gives you ample of opportunities to participate, organise and lead various events in the university. Such bodies are full of resources but taking advantage of those resources according to his/ her potential depends on the student, which can only be achieved through active participation.
4. Engage in student newspaper – Joining a college newspaper team doesn’t mean that you want to become a journalist or want to join a publication house, but this will enhance your writing skills and expression. This might also fetch you the opportunity to meet and interact students from other departments that might not be possible otherwise.
5. Connect with Alumni – Use various social media portals like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to build up your network with alumni from your school. It will be a good idea to contact university’s administration or career office, or the professors and ask them if they can help you connect with active alumni.
6. Volunteer to showcase your talent for free – This proves to be a great way to gain work experience, and you will also meet people that you otherwise might not have had the opportunity to connect with.
One of the most important aspect of networking is pro-activeness in the university and student bodies/clubs etc. Networking helps you get noticed by people, which is quite beneficial in the long term, after all, everyone is more inclined to favour a known person. People start recognizing and getting acquainted with you if you regularly attend relevant business and social events. Social media visibility through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is equally significant as it helps to interact with established people in your aspired field. Offering information or suggestions to people around you who need it, helps you portray yourself as knowledgeable, charismatic and supportive. Always remember, successful people might not be very knowledgeable but they are well networked.