How to establish your professional network while at university.

Building a bank of professional connections isn’t something postgraduates must miss out on. Unfortunately, many people wait until after graduation to hit the road, armed with their papers, in search of a job. Instead, you must make use of all the networking opportunities while being enrolled as a student because the socially experienced will tell you that it’s not easy to build a good professional network. It takes time and requires you to maintain a relationship. A relationship touches your heart and creates an everlasting partnership. When you make connections based on shared interests and goals, you’ll be more successful at building a strong bond, because people want to work with people they know and like.

Here are some tips that college students can use to network-

1. Meet as many people as you can-

You must never miss an opportunity to meet new people and must utilize the networking opportunities available as you will never know who you meet while regularly meeting and interacting with new people.

2. Connect online-

Thanks to the emergence of networking platforms and social media you can leverage them to connect with influential people online by participating in online conversations.

3. Listen more than you talk-

Networking is about knowing yourself and what you want and, in turn, what you can offer others. You must make time to listen to what the other person is trying to convey. Let other people share their point of view. And learn from what they say.

4. Be a conversation starter-

It’s always advisable not to wait for the other person to approach you or start talking to you. Be ready to take the lead and start the conversation yourself because you will lose nothing by doing so.

5. Get rid of the fear of rejection-

When you start meeting people, you may have some fear of being rejected as well. Many people won’t simply want to connect. Don’t let this fear hold you back. You must always try to be positive!

6. Follow up-

They key to networking is to build a relationship so that people keep you in mind even after your meeting with them. Often people meet many others during such events and they tend to forget you. That's why following up is very important.

The professional networking that you do while in college can pay great dividends when you are out in the real world. You can be surprised by what your network can do for you.

July 16 at 9:30 am

by Ahana Machaiah