Imagine you are at a networking event with recruiters for your dream job. You want to approach them, but you do not know how because you are unfamiliar with how to network effectively. This problem is common and results in students feeling anxious and stressed out because they are overwhelmed. Instead of attending networking events and capitalizing on opportunities they stay home and miss out.
Networking is a way for you to step out of your comfort zone and become more familiar with an industry or organization. Specifically, networking while you are a student is pivotal for making connections for the future. University can be more than just what you do in the classroom. Although networking may seem daunting, here are some tips to ease the nerves and help you launch your career!
Attend networking events
The Career Centre and various clubs frequently host networking events to allow students to be familiar with their organization or expose them to unique opportunities. Bring your resume and a few business cards because you never know who you will encounter. Don’t forget to introduce yourself and give a brief elevator pitch related to the theme of the event.
Pro-tip! If you attend an event with Laurier alumni present, try asking them about their experiences at the company. They are more likely to provide you with a realistic job preview than another representative.
Do your research
If you plan on attending a networking event, make sure to do your research to find out who else is going to be there. This needs to be more than a simple Google search but rather will provide you with enough information to ask strategic questions. Make sure to research the field of interest as well so you can be well-informed regarding trends.
Bring business cards
Business cards are an easy way for potential employers to remember who you are and add a bit of credibility. These cards should include your email, phone number, LinkedIn, and blog if you have one. If you get a business card from someone else, make sure that you follow up within 2-3 days from the event.
Utilize your professors and classmates
You are surrounded daily by professors who have knowledge in a business subject and classmates who might want to get into the same industry as you. In terms of professors, make sure to engage actively in class by asking questions and answering theirs. This shows professors that you are invested and care about what you are learning. To establish a personal relationship, attend office hours and have questions prepared in advance to get the most out of your appointment. Professors tend to have a lot of connections and establishing a positive relationship could help you in the future.
Pro-tip! Do not just limit this to professors that you have had before.
In terms of your classmates, move around during the semester and do not stay confined to the same group of people. This will give you the chance to make new friends and grow your network. Taking the first step to introduce yourself to others will also increase your confidence levels and be good practice for networking events.
Networking is an investment in your future; make sure to take every opportunity that comes your way. Which networking tip was your favourite? Leave us a comment and let us know!