Once you’ve hit adolescence, you should always look for opportunities to network. You never know when you might come across someone who will turn into a lucrative future business contact, or better, a lifelong friend.
As a teenager, your career might not be a priority, but the friends and acquaintances you acquire can prove to be useful down the road. Networking is especially important during your college years since your network plays a huge role in getting into the organization where you want to kick off your working life.
The Reasons You Need To Network During Your School Years
Networking isn’t as simple as going up to someone and introducing yourself. You need to know how to carry out a proper conversation that engages the other person to want to get to know you better.
Once you are in the job market, knowing the right individuals is invaluable. If you already know people working in the field you want to join, the process of finding work should also be a lot easier. Your network may connect you to the right individuals and get you scheduled for interviews, which is where your education and skills will take over.
Without the right contacts, you will find that securing an interview is more difficult. Think about it from the organization’s standpoint—it receives hundreds of applications for a single position, and only a handful are shortlisted for an interview. Your contact can put in a good word for you because they know your capabilities.
How You Can Network During Your School Years
As a college student, you have the chance to network with more than just faculty members and other students. Seek opportunities to work with a professor and connect with their network whenever a chance presents itself.
For example, as a teaching or research assistant, your professor will ask you to send out surveys or contact an organization. Take the opportunity to expand your network. You don’t have to become friends, but through proper communication and professionalism, you can give the person a sense of your potential.
You can then follow up with the person at a conference later, or on social media. If they ever come to visit the university and see your professor, you will have built enough rapport with them to ask for assistance if, and when, you start to look for work.
There is a common misconception that you have to be an extrovert to be talented at networking. Being outgoing helps, but introverts can network just as effectively. Social media has made it easier for anyone to construct a wide network, even internationally. You may find it difficult to speak to someone in person, but with social media, you can approach them virtually, with confidence.
A strong network is more important today than it ever was in history. Your network can be the difference in having a career in a field you want or taking a job out of desperation. Seize every opportunity you have to network, from using social media to playing casino online games with random individuals.
The sooner you start to network, the better.