Completing a university degree is an admirable goal to achieve. Yet, the work doesn’t end there. You’ll have to put in the effort to find a job and go on interviews. And, because competition for desirable positions can be fierce, getting a call back for a job you really want may not come easily.
You need strong networking skills to get ahead of the pack, regardless of your desired industry. Fresh graduates miss out on several opportunities because, sadly, they aren’t aware of industry dynamics and therefore fail to network in university.
By network, we don’t mean your social media friends and social followers. Instead, we’re talking about industry experts, professors, and seniors who can help you grow in your career. Networking allows you to build a system of supportive relationships to get ahead in your professional life.
But since nurturing relationships takes time, it’s always a good idea to start networking while in university – before you even start looking for a job. But how and where do you start building your professional network?
Here are some networking tips to start your journey:
1. Reach Out to the Industry Leaders
No, we don’t mean calling corporate leaders or visiting their offices when you’re still in university; you can save that for later. But, for now, it’s a good idea to try to find the most influential and resourceful people in your desired industry and connect with them online on platforms like LinkedIn and in person at different events.
Whether you need industry insights or information about an upcoming event, find where the experts hang out. You can meet these leaders in online communities, public speaking events, and workshops. You can also connect with these leaders and benefit from their experience and knowledge.
2. Consult Your Professors and University Alumni
Your professors have probably taught hundreds or even thousands of students by now. And most of them might be in key corporate positions to help you in your career. As such, it’s a good idea to stay connected with your professors and ask them for career tips.
Don’t shy away from asking questions. For example, you could ask your professor what should be your next step at networking and how you can grow your network. Most professors have connections with industry leaders and university alumni in the corporate world. You can meet these people through your professor’s reference.
3. Leverage Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for virtually everything, from professional networking to growing your business. Whether you want to do a job or start a business after university, social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you reach out to people looking for what you have to offer, and vice versa. You can also use it to keep in touch with old friends and business contacts.
It’s a good idea to join your industry-related groups, follow insightful people, engage with public posts, and see what others are talking about on social networking platforms. Also, you can create engagement and get noticed by posting thoughtful content, appreciating positive criticism, and brushing up on your knowledge of industry happenings, news, and trends.
4. Attend Professional Events
Professional and career-focused events offer a great networking opportunity for university students. You get the chance to meet industry leaders and career experts at such events and learn from their experience and knowledge.
Also, be sure to attend on-campus and off-campus job fairs and other career events. Attending these gatherings will help you improve your resume and interview skills. And who knows, you might land your dream job at one of these events.
If you live in shared accommodation in Oshawa, look around to find public networking events nearby. These events will allow you to make new connections and nurture professional relationships. Don’t forget to talk to other people in your building, as they might know people in your field, too.
Be headstrong in your efforts to become an active member of these circles. But as always, follow professional etiquettes and don’t go overboard in trying to enter the professional communities.