The Best Way to Network While in School
Career Path : Career Tips
There’s no better way to succeed in your career than to network. Whether you’re networking online or in real life, connections are typically the best way to get ahead. If you’re looking to start your first “real” career job, the networks that you have will make a world of difference. It is frequently said that roughly 80% of jobs are not advertised. To succeed in getting jobs in this “hidden” job market means that the more people that you have in your network, the greater the chance will be to find one of these jobs.
For many students who may not have a broad network of connections that will be helpful in a career setting, now is the time to build a network of contacts who you can rely upon once you graduate. Though you may not think of the people you currently know as a viable network, in a few years once people have started to establish themselves in a career setting, you never know when that once-upon-a-time acquaintance or an old classmate may be that “in” for that job that you’ve been seeking.
But how exactly do you go about establishing a network? It’s never too late to begin establishing a network for yourself.
Socializing Isn’t Just For Fun!
Attend events or join clubs in your field of interest. Every event is a potential networking resource. And it will be made especially easy when you are in a setting where you are very familiar and comfortable with the topic. For example, if you are what you are studying focuses on IT training, then take the time to attend Hackathon events, events that focus on web development or even just a public lecture on technology. Once you are in a setting where you feel at ease then most likely you’ll feel completely natural approaching people without even realizing that you’re networking!
Keep in Touch
Create business cards, even if you are still a student. If it makes you feel more comfortable then you can always put your aspiration job on it. For example, you can add Aspiring Medical Office Assistant or even Business School Student. There’s no better way to add value to a conversation than with a business card. A business card is a helpful tool to keep you at the forefront of people’s mind. Say for example you just had a 10-minute conversation with an individual at event, then make sure you close the conversation by handing that person your business card. This is your way to stay relevant to her. Also bear in mind that you should take their business card in return and follow up if you can. It doesn’t have to be a phone call. Add them on LinkedIn or simply send them an email link to an article related to one of the topics that you’ve spoken about. Just maintaining contact can end up being a great resource in the future.
Putting yourself out there can be incredibly difficult. For everyone and not just for those for which networking comes naturally. If your personality is more at the shy end of the spectrum then try preparing what you’d like to say in advance. Create a mental list of potential ice breaker questions or spend the time online researching the person’s background interests or career trajectory.
Online tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter has made connecting with people all across the globe easier than ever, opening up our pool of potential networking resources. Take the time to build your network on line. Contact past alumni or even former classmates who are currently working in a field that you aspire to work in. Networking doesn’t have to strictly be done in person.
Lastly, remember that networking is a two-way street. Give back as much as you take. Recognize that you may also have resources that may be beneficial to that other person as well. It will always advantageous to be generous because in the future you may need someone to be generous with you.