Networking is an art form, and every student should invest time in it, because little do we all know, networking could open the door to our dream job, financial freedom, great people, a long and prosperous career, or simply a better life.
Personally networking has opened so many doors for both us as people and professionals, and it is done through putting yourself out there, even though you might be fearful of how people may receive you.
Some of the advice, guidance and differing perspectives that can be unlocked through meeting new people is absolutely endless, as often people can be your most impactful resource needed to succeed.
Personally, I was once at a University Event and this older man was at the bar hidden away in the corner. I went up to get a non-alcoholic beverage (I wanted to be on my A game) when I introduced myself and tried to form a connection. Little did I know this man was in a very senior position at Swinburne University and had past managerial experience at some very prestigious companies. We also both shared a love of AFL football which was a great Ice-breaker. At the end of our conversation, we connected on LinkedIn and before I left he mentioned I was the first student to approach him all night and he appreciated the effort.
So morally of the story is that people are out there wanting to invest time in young people, so put yourself out there!! Now that could be someone that may be able to help me out further down the track.. You never know.
So for someone with no idea how to network where do I start?
Now it’s your move….
- University Societies and Clubs industry events– Many societies put on great networking events and often give great advice, so if you can get along to as many of these as you possibly can. Gives you a great chance to network with other students also
- Understand your strengths and what make you unique– If you know what makes you unique it can be great way to introduce yourself to professionals and ultimately stand out in the process!
- Network with your Tutors– This one is easy and it is valuable. Tutors have great industry connections and are always happy to help in terms of guidance and mentorship, so form a connection in your units and get practising.
- Industry knowledge– Brush up on your industry knowledge, because it can be a great way to break to ice and keep the conversation with key people flowing!
Finally, networking isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, so don’t be deflated if people don’t want to get back to you or invest time (we know first hand). That’s the reality sometimes, but keep putting yourself out there, because you never know what door you may unlock!!!