The idea of a networking event is rather a daunting one if you’re not used to starting up conversations with strangers. But you probably won’t encounter these until you get a job after you’ve graduated, so we want to address networking as a student. Yes, you heard us right! You can start networking now, in more of a subtle way that will aid you during your studies and thereafter.
- Create relationships and connections with students and staff
We’re not talking about giving out business cards, but talking to other students, making friends, and being a nice person. You may not think that turning up to a lecture in Pj’s is right, but classmates can change, who knows where they’ll be in 2 or 3 years. As for staff, put in an effort, get involved and again be a nice person, and you’ll be surprised with the valuable information/ advice staff can give you, after all, they are industry experts.
- Get involved on campus
Again creating more relationships in various places will create more connections and improve your CV. By joining clubs, societies, jobs, and organisations, you’ll connect with older students, advisers, and mentors previously unknown.
- Create an online presence
Start to create a presence and a way in which you can network digitally. If you haven’t already, create a LinkedIn profile and connect with people (this is a great way to start if you’re nervous about networking). You can use your online profile to connect with friends, alumni and even keep an eye out for job opportunities.
- Visit your University’s career office
This is something every student should do, your campus career centre has lots of free resources. Practice your interview techniques, build your online presence, find out about upcoming job fairs and find internships or jobs posted by alumni. It doesn’t matter what year of Uni you’re in, getting tips and advice sooner rather than later will aid you later on.
- Be confident, but yourself
Networking is all about creating connections and building relationships. Be genuine, share your experiences, engage, ask questions and listen. Use networking as an opportunity to talk to industry experts and get advice, they will know that someone in Uni doesn’t have lots of experience, so they won’t expect this, but they will appreciate passion and drive to get a job in the industry.
If you’re putting in all this effort in networking and building your online presence, don’t let it flop. Maintain your presence, attain guest lectures, send follow up emails and keep in the loop, someone just might remember you when you do apply for a job.