Networking Skills: Why are they so important?

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Networking is not just about who you know, but who knows you! Networking could lead you to the single personal connection that you need to open doors to multiple opportunities for your professional and personal growth.  From job leads to lasting friendships, networking helps you explore new career options and can help you keep up with changes in your field.

Sounds great! But how do you do that when you are still studying at University?

Connect

First things first!  Know your university and get connected with your professors and alumni, and find out about groups and societies that get together within university. Talk to your professors and gain knowledge about professional associations for fields that you are focussing on.  Connect with local professional groups, avail memberships that offer discounts for student membership.  Keep attending events, conferences and exhibitions – this will help keep you posted on industry trends and issues.

 

Reach

It is always advised that the sooner you start, the better the results will be.  Students often overlook reaching out to their immediate contacts – relatives and friends’ parents who have experience and expertise to share.  Secondly, there are several companies who invite university freshers for workshops and free training to get to know about the Industry.  Try reaching out to HR Division professionals, not just for jobs but for meeting professionals who can help you explore their work culture.

Build

Nowadays, social media has made it easy to build and follow professional connections by sending them invites through LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.  Through social media you get an opportunity not just to connect but also to get to know how professionals build and maintain their relationships in industry.  Check out professional groups that can provide you with industry updates as well university alumni groups that can guide you and help you as a mentor.  Where LinkedIn is considered to be professional outlet, Twitter and Facebook can be used strategically to stay connected with your network.

Internships

Whether paid or unpaid, internships are a proven way to gain relevant knowledge, skills, and experience while establishing important connections in the field. Internships and volunteer experiences make candidates more competitive in the job market. No matter what opportunities you engage in, it’s important to maintain professionalism. Remember, asking questions is one key to learning in an internship, and keeping yourself flexible throughout the internship can open many doors.  By doing so, you will not only be creating a great impression but also at the end of the internship, you can ask for a recommendation letter that you can keep on file for future reference.

Lastly! Don’t Forget…

Networking is an ongoing process and needs to be followed periodically and continues throughout your life. Networking gives you access to the hidden or informal job market, which is a helpful tool even if you aren’t actively job searching.  Remember! Your network is your valuable professional asset—a resource that makes you smarter, more experienced, and more capable. Networking gives you access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. The people in your network will likely come from a wide variety of backgrounds who can offer you a broad range of perspectives and possess a deep well of wisdom.

So, start today! Expand your network and deepen those relationships.  Always remember to pay it forward and help fresh graduates in future!