You might be asking yourself, what exactly is networking? It seems to be a term that just popped up in the last decade, and now its an option for what you’re “looking for” on Google+, and your professors are stressing its importance!
Truth is, networking has existed for a long, long time. It’s essentially a fancy term meaning developing connections with those around you who have the potential to help you out. The people you network with become something between an acquaintance and a friend–a process of “professional friend-making,” so to speak. In today’s society, where most jobs and other major opportunities are found through someone you know, networking is very important, and the best time to start is now. Not sure how to go about networking, or what networking can do for you? Check out these tips for more information.
Creating Networks for Knowledge
One of the benefits of networking is the ability to obtain and share new information with one another for the purpose of everyone becoming more educated on a subject. You could start a Facebook group for freshmen biology majors, and lead discussion forums with other students all over the country. You could put yourself in touch with someone a few years older than you who has completed work in an area you want to know more about. Through networking, you will find that you have a more well-rounded education, and perhaps a more in-depth education than what you might learn from your college courses.
Creating Networks for Support
When you have a network of other people with a common interest or goal, you are creating a support system that you can rely on. Generally, the people you connect with will want you to succeed. They will be there for you if you have a question. They will give you words of encouragement should you fail. You could be an aspiring artist, and connect with other aspiring artists at your school or around the world with your prime goal being to “make it!” With all of you rooting for one another, you will have the motivation to keep going, and the comfort of knowing that everyone fails, but not everyone gives up!
Creating Networks for Opportunities
By networking with your classmates, employers, alumni, and other successful individuals in your field, you are opening yourself up to fantastic career opportunities. Think about it: if you’re working part time at a coffee shop over summer, and your boss is looking to hire a few more people for your shift, immediately into your mind pops your jobless, coffee-loving friend. Within days, your friend is working at your side. That’s how it works in the real world, too! By connecting with others who have the ability to lend you a hand someday, you are far more likely to be given opportunities throughout your college career as well as out in the real world. Start making these connections now!