networking skills, social skills, networking in college
NO CATEGORY / 14 December 2016
Why Networking in College is the Best Thing for Your Career
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Gina Apperson

If you have a professor, a roommate or a resume, you have a network. Often in college, we think networking is a big, intimidating thing that we know we should do, but may not always do. Looking back on my time in college, I realize that college is the perfect time to take advantage of building lasting relationships with the people around you. Your network is the most important accessory to your resume, and here’s why it will get you ahead of the game:

1. Strong networking and social skills are high in demand.

The ability to network and make connections with others is something no computer or robot can imitate. We used to think that technology would steal jobs, but now we see a rise in jobs that require strong social skills in today’s labor market.  What does that mean as a college student? It means that practicing relating to people who are different than you will help build your ability to collaborate and communicate in work settings. Want to practice this? Make a goal to have a genuine conversation with someone you never met before at least once a day or once a week. One of my college mentors gave me this advice and I always like seeing what comes out of it!

2. Strong connections lead to jobs and internships. 

There is no doubt that networking can lead to job offers. As college students, we hear this all the time, but sometimes it takes time to see results from attending networking events. Don’t give up! This is a process without instant gratification. Start with something easy: the people you already know. Ask them to coffee to get to know them better, asking about their interests and how they ended up in the industry. Talk to family friends and to professors. From there, you can expand your network and find different opportunities. 

My first job opportunity came from a friend I’ve known for six years. If you want to know a secret, I didn’t fill out one job application out of college. Sometimes, it is all about who you know. 

3. Networking inspires your creativity.

Networking isn’t over after you have a job or an internship—rather, it helps you thrive at your job. Going to networking events, making coffee dates and striking up conversations with strangers, not only leads to different opportunities but also builds your creativity and confidence. New people means new ideas—new strokes of genius. Business plans, ideas for your first book, a research topic, a charity event—these are all things that can result from being in the right place and talking the right person. Ideas only multiply when they are surrounded by others. By giving and receiving feedback or studying or brainstorming with others, you put your best foot forward in your class, your internship, and/or job. 

Simply put, networking and building genuine relationships with people helps you 1) build your skills, 2) land a job opportunity, and 3) really thrive in your new position. 

If you are looking to make yourself marketable or take advantage of the opportunities in college, make sure to look out for chances to network and strengthen relationships with the friends, colleagues, mentors, families, and professors you meet in college. Now is the time to make networking your new best friend. 

And if you want to network like a boss, check out these 4 quick and easy tips for making connections in college! 

If you want an opportunity to network with hiring companies, sign up for a free candidate profile today!