Networking has been getting increasingly popular amongst graduating students and members of the school board in recent years. Chances are, both you and I have heard of networking events at one point or another throughout our entire student life.
Some of us dread these social events where we are forced to mingle with other individuals. Some of us thrive in these social situations instead. Regardless of which category you fall into, today we’ll be discussing why networking is so important for graduating students!
Most individuals associate networking events as opportunities to trade information related to a business. However, networking has taken on a completely different meaning in the present day, presenting individuals like you and me with the priceless chance to create new and long-term connections that can prove beneficial in the future.
In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the reasons why networking is so important for students (especially those who are expecting to graduate soon) and some tips that can help you network better with others!
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What is networking?
According to Wolff & Moser, a very formal definition of the term goes as follows: “behaviours that are aimed at building, maintaining and using informal relationships that possess the (potential) benefit of facilitating work-related activities of individuals by voluntarily granting access to resources and maximising common advantages”[i].
In simpler terms, networking refers to the act of building relationships and connections with industry professionals to gain a new and better understanding of the work sector while developing valuable soft skills.
Why is networking important?
Reason 1: Opens the door to new opportunities
Networking opportunities can lead one to find new career opportunities. By attending those networking events that you may not necessarily want to attend, you’re opening yourself up to the miracle of chances!
Career-minded individuals and head-hunters from numerous businesses may also be attending these events. All in hopes of meeting someone who may make the perfect addition to the formation of their dream team!
Such networking opportunities don’t come by too often, and when they do, they could essentially be the stepping stone you may or may not have known you needed all along!
Your attendance and some basic socialising skills are all it takes for these networking opportunities to function as avenues for newer opportunities. You never know what’s waiting for you out there :)
Reason 2: Allows you to build new connections
Many tertiary educational institutions in Singapore have been introducing their students to such networking events. This is usually done to help students get a feel of what it’s like out there in the real world outside academics and curriculum activities.
I was in school when I found myself attending such an event. I only realised the primary purpose of this whole initiative after speaking with a lecturer of mine. And I learned it was to allow us to connect with others!
These networking opportunities presented me with the chance to connect with others. This included professionals from various business backgrounds, industries and work sectors. On a normal day, I’m most likely moving in and out of classrooms, working through assignments and projects. Attending networking opportunities allowed me the golden chance to connect with professionals and allowed me to study what they were looking for in their future/potential new employees.
Speaking with them through such events further helped me to understand what they are looking for in soon-to-be graduating students like myself! This broadened my mindset, and I was soon introducing myself with resumes.
Many of these professionals were providing me with their business cards to connect for an interview afterwards, too! Building new connections is one of the major reasons why networking is so important for you as graduating students.
Reason 3: Build up your confidence
The third reason why networking is so essential is that these networking events present you with opportunities to build your self-confidence levels up too.
Socialising with other like-minded individuals at such networking events is inevitable. Why not look at it through a positive lens and make the best of it while you can? After all, it’s not every other day that most of us get to go all out and meet other professional people as part of our school routine.
Say hello, shake a hand, introduce yourself and find out what you have in common with these individuals. Find out how you guys are different and how you can help each other out in the near future.
Share about your ambitions and aspirations! Seek advice and support from those who may hold senior designations within the office environment. Search for ways to improve and better yourself.
And throughout the entire experience, don’t be shy! You’ll be building your self-confidence without even noticing. Oh, trust me! The perks to networking stay limitless!
How to network better?
Having learned the benefits of networking as graduating students, are you wondering how to do it better? It’s as simple as making a few tweaks to your daily activities!
1. Attend more of the school events that are being organised for students like yourself.
The staff from your school’s career development teams work hard day in, day out, to reach out and connect with professionals from various work industries and sectors. Take advantage of these events set up for you and attend these sessions while you still can!
2. Create an online resume and portfolio to share more about yourself.
Networking events present you with the opportunity to create first impressions with professionals from the work sectors. However, it may not necessarily allow you to go in-depth about your personal works and achievements due to their shorter duration.
There may also be many other students who are waiting to meet a professional from the same organisation you are interested in. To make it easier for them to find you, create an online resume and portfolio so that they can take a look at your profile and work at their own time!
3. Make the first move yourself
You don’t have to wait for your school to set up a networking event for you to attend one. You also don’t have to wait for a professional to come and speak to you while you’re waiting anxiously.
Instead, make the first move on your own. Take the initiative and reach out to those professionals or companies you are genuinely interested in joining after you graduate from school!
With all that being said, we have to come to the end of this article! I hope the piece has provided you with insights as to why networking is so important for graduating students like yourself! In the meantime, if you’re on the lookout for similar part-time, internship or freelance jobs to reel in some extra cash, read on! ;)
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