Networking is a word that is used a lot nowadays. Hence essential to understand why Networking is important. Every person you meet emphasis on the importance of networking. The gist seems to be: it is something you should be continuously doing, and doing a lot. And yes, I agree that you should be doing it!
Read on to find out
why networking is important,
how to do it, and the Do’s and Don’ts of networking.
What is networking?
Networking, in simple words, is meeting and forming contacts with other people in or out of your field of study or business. To be precise, it is used to form professional relationships and to identify, create or even go through with opportunities. It can also be called as building your social capital. Your social capital is basically your social network. And I don’t mean your Facebook or Instagram; it is the people you know, the relationships you form, and the actions you do with and for each other. As a student, you must learn the importance of it and should be able to come out of the illusion that you have a great network if you have hundreds of Instagram or Facebook connections. You hardly know few of them. Networking is all about creating and keeping alive the real contacts you make.
Why is it important?
“It’s about whom you know, not what you know”, can be frustrating as a student.
In today’s world networking has become extremely essential. Hence the emphasis on why networking is important. Professional networks can lead to more opportunities and might even further to a good internship or a good employment. Networking often includes forming relationships with other people in your field or doing similar things as you; this means that you might even find out about job opportunities through your networking contacts.
If you’re lucky enough to closely know someone who works at your dream company that’s great for you. But most students don’t. You have to make your contacts yourselves. And that’s where networking plays the most important role. With many of jobs occurring in a “hidden job market” where roles aren’t always advertised, networking is essential. But how do you actually “network” as a student? And how do you avoid embarrassing yourself? Even though you understand the importance of why Networking is important how do you skillfully execute it?
How do you network?
As a student, you can start networking at various places. For example, if you are working as an intern, you have the opportunity to meet other interns as well as learn from the employees already working at the company. Plus, if you ace your internship and make a really good impression, you will have created contacts that you can re-visit. An internship offers a very good place to start your professional network and capitalize on it. Another example is societies. They have connections to businesses and other organizations and as a part of it, you get to know a lot of people with whom you can develop your contacts.
Attend networking events
Many students avoid networking. Volunteering, joining student societies and attending talks are good ways to network with your peers. There are many online event platforms which are useful for finding networking events.
You must research to know well about who is going to be at the event and what you might get out of it. Once you’ve found out who will be attending, you can use LinkedIn and Twitter to know more about the company or the person you want to speak to and can prepare some good questions to ask.for them.
This may be your chance to speak to potential recruiters directly. You can ask about their application process and the competencies you would need to demonstrate in your application. Sometimes companies do send representatives from their graduate schemes to networking events. You can ask them about their experiences and learn more about the company.
30-second elevator pitch
You should try and prepare a short pitch about who you are, what you’re studying and what you’re interested in doing after graduating. Prepare, read, refine and practice the pitch. It may help you stand out in the crowd.
No one expects you to carry a business card as a student. But I would strongly suggest that you should have a business card giving all your details: including your email, mobile phone number, and Twitter, LinkedIn or blog if you write.
Lose your nerves
Keep your anxiety in control. You must not forget how to act among other people. Don’t interrupt other people if they are speaking – they will just think you are rude. Don’t ask for a job or internship straight away. Take interest in them, ask relevant questions.
Forget to introduce yourself
Many students make the mistake of forgetting to introduce them self and say a bit about who they are. Remember your elevator pitch and use it effectively.
You might be shy, but networking really doesn’t work if you don’t speak to anyone. Don’t let your shyness lose the opportunities at hand.
Don’t act like a stalker
Even if you know about their kids who are going to the same school you went to, don’t start by saying that. It can come off more stalker than well-researched. There is a fine line between well-researched and keen, and just plain creepy. Tread this line carefully.
Through this article, we definitely understand why networking is important and the significance it plays in every aspect of our lives.