If you have friends, professors, school advisors and the like, the answer is probably “Yes.” But what you should be doing is intentional networking.
What’s the difference? Intentional networking is when you set out to meet people with a specific goal in mind. It could be to land an internship, or perhaps even a job after graduation.
Where can you meet professional contacts or get involved with an organized networking group as a college student? Believe it or not, the opportunities are all around you. Ask your friends with similar interests, professors within your field of interest, but be sure to reach beyond what’s familiar, too.
You might get involved with a school organization or community volunteer group to meet people. You could even call your local Chamber of Commerce for suggestions for organized networking groups to check out. Doing a Google search doesn’t hurt.
Making the Most of Connections
Are you interning somewhere? If so, you’re likely meeting a lot of people. Be sure to get to know them. You never know when they might point you in the right professional direction. In some cases, a great internship experience can land you a professional position upon graduation. But you have to assert yourself, and part of that is through professional networking – meeting the right people to put yourself in a position of opportunity.
Interested in being a radio personality? You should get involved with your campus radio station. A position there will help you gain experience, but if you reach out to other area radio stations to tell them about your desire, and make networking connections, you could have one foot in the door when it comes to securing later employment. Make sure you’re climbing the ladder. Networking and getting to know people is often stepping up the first rung.
Networking holds value
Aside from helping you in the job market, networking holds a wealth of opportunities that can get you far in many situations. Perhaps you are looking for advice. Maybe you need referrals. It all starts with developing a network. At Pagoda Business Network, we aim to make networking fun. Feel free to pop into one of our events and “Be Expected, Be Connected, and Be Respected.”
Nikki Murry is editor of Berks County Living magazine and a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and blogger. In her free time she is an active dog rescue volunteer and enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old son, Riley, and her three dogs: Buddha and Shelly, French Bulldogs, and Bruno, a Boston Terrier.