If there’s one skill you should graduate with, it’s learn how to network, network, network. You might be surprised to learn how many jobs and internships arise from networking alone. I realize it may sound scary. But networking is not strictly an active role where you have to go out and make it happen. In fact, great networkers are those who can balance both active and passive networking styles. An active role would be reaching out directly to people in your field of interest or those who align well with your career goals. This can be done with emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings. Passive networking, in contrast, is the “behind the scenes” talk amongst others. By displaying passion, conviction, and aptitude in all professional or academic areas you’re involved in, you make impressions on those around you. Superiors in the job-world often ask others who they would recommend for a new role. Maybe a previous coworker or professor will recommend you for an internship or interview without you having had done anything. This is why networking is so important because of its far-reaching implications.
Part of your college experience is cultivating good habits as you learn and grow in young adulthood. Networking, which is no more than exchanging information and developing good contacts, is a skill that requires practice. Those who are skilled networkers may be aided by being extrovert or tactful, but there are common traits among great networkers. These people take advantage of professional social media (e.g. LinkedIn), alumni databases (UCAN), and make the most of internships and volunteer experiences by engaging with their coworkers and managers. Good networkers never sell themselves short and are always willing to share their passions with others around them. Make your goals, skills, and talents known. Leave good impressions. Be confident. But most of all, just be you. People will notice, and you will find networking isn’t as scary as it originally seemed.