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April 15, 2019
Though networking plays an important role in one's professional life post-college most of us would have rarely heard about it. Very few colleges have taken initiatives to develop strong networking among their students. When it comes to the job market, networking help candidates to stand apart in the crowd. Hence it's high time that individuals need to realize the purpose of networking and start taking initiatives.
If you are familiar with social networks, where you gain followers and add friends, networking in the professional sense is similar in that you're establishing connections with people typically in your field. These connections could be working professionals, experts, thought leaders, or even professors. The purpose of networking is to form relationships with those who'll help get you to where you want to go, and the earlier you start building up your network, the better. That's why it's important to start networking in college — before you're even ready to enter the workforce. Networking is a great way to connect with others in your field and create opportunities for yourself after college.
Networking allows you to become connected with a professional in your field or with students who are also going into similar fields. It also gives way for you to become knowledgeable about your field from the experiences that it may bring. This extra knowledge and experience can help benefit you before heading out into your prospective career. Also, referrals are critical for students looking to work in their chosen fields. Referrals from networking can give an upper hand when applying for jobs and allow employers to see the potential in you. A referral can also help with highlighting your skills and can help take you to the next level when done right. That simple referral letter or connection you made while at your career fair can help you get your foot in the door and provide an actual opportunity to work in the position of your dreams!
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, you are always networking- from building a strong bond with your friends at the classroom or sharing a discussion with your professors, you are always networking. However, the most important type of networking is when you get to visit a plant or undergo internships or work on a research project. There you meet dignified personalities from the industry who can help you broaden your knowledge and get access to lots of other contacts with industry veterans. Plus, if you ace your internship and make a really good impression, you will have created contacts that you can re-visit. Maybe in a year, you would want to work there again, or after you graduated you may want a full-time job at the same place you interned at 2 years before.
Coupled with the above-mentioned options, you can also check out any competitions that might fit your profile and through which you can prove your skills. A perfect example of this are hackathons; events at which you compete as an individual or team by using data for a particular purpose.
So, there you have it. Networking isn't an as hard task as it sounds, and it's not only for professionals in the workspace. You can easily network with fellow students, in societies, or at internships.
Courtesy: Higher Education Review
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