Networking Tips for Students at University
University classes will teach you plenty to help you in your career, but one thing they rarely cover is networking. Despite this, networking is a crucial skill to have, since it’s by gaining contacts in your industry that you’re able to progress in your field. Learning how to network now will enable you to start developing a list of connections as soon as possible, which will benefit you immediately after you graduate — if not before, for opportunities such as landing internships.
The great thing about networking as a student is you’ll find many people want to help you out. Having been in your place themselves, they know how difficult starting a career can be. They’ll remember the people who supported them and want to return the favour.
Networking may sound simple, but there’s much more to it than making small talk with strangers. Having a strategy in place will ensure you’re able to network successfully.
1. Actively Network All the Time
It may be easier than you think to incorporate networking into your daily routine. You simply need to put in the effort to have a conversation with one new person a day — perhaps a classmate or a professor. People pursuing a similar career to you (or already working in the field) and those with similar interests can end up being great contacts to have later.
2. Be More Involved
If you currently just attend classes and hang out with a small group of friends, it’s time to change that. If you’re serious about networking, try to start creating more opportunities to meet people. Joining organizations, sports teams, and clubs will instantly widen your social network, which can translate into a larger professional network.
3. Use Career Services
The likelihood is your university has career services, but you may have neglected them up until now. Check out these services to see what’s on offer. In particular, look out for workshops that can help you develop your networking skills and build confidence. You may also like to start attending job fairs to connect with potential employers and to find out about internships.
4. Work on Your Online Presence
Many people are more comfortable interacting with strangers online than in person. Plus, networking online has the benefit of allowing you to reach a wider geographical area. However, to effectively network online, you need to have already built an online presence. Depending on your field, this could involve setting up a LinkedIn profile and adding contacts. Alternatively, you may need a full website or online portfolio.
In addition, make sure your personal and social media profiles are cleaned up. If there are many posts you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, set your profile to private — or even delete old posts entirely.
5. Be Genuine
Having a small number of high-quality contacts is more valuable than a large number of low-quality contacts. When you reach out to someone new, put in the effort to develop a real connection. Plus, check in with your contacts occasionally to maintain connections.
Being successful at networking often comes down to the circles you move in. If you only ever see the same small group of people, your networking opportunities will be limited. In contrast, if you live somewhere you’re able to constantly meet new people, you’ll be in a much better position. This is just one of the reasons The Revalie is an ideal choice for student living. Our rooms to rent in Ottawa are designed for students like you. You’ll have the chance to network with people you would otherwise never have met, including students who attend other universities and colleges in Ottawa. Sign up now to join our VIP list and be the first to hear about updates in the community.