How to Network Successfully in College
One of the greatest benefits of studying for a college degree is the opportunity to network with other colleagues and gain relationships that will make you grow personally and professionally. Regardless of the profession and area of activity, a good professional will have more job opportunities if he has good networking. Networking is nothing more than a network of professional contacts to exchange experiences, knowledge, and common interest information. Understand the importance of cultivating professional relationships and learn how to network in college.
Why Network in College?
The sooner you start cultivating professional relationships, whether at work or college, the wider your network will be. Networking is essential for professional development and is an excellent ally to enhance job and business opportunities. Research shows that maintaining good professional relationships over time is indispensable for building a successful career.
Also, professional contacts can help you achieve your career goals. After all, several job opportunities or even academic ones, as in the case of courses abroad, can request a letter of recommendation or professional indication, which is easier to obtain when you have a good relationship with other professionals in the field.
College Networking Tips
The beginning of graduation is already the beginning of your professional trajectory; therefore, seeing college as an important part of your career is fundamental to create professional bonds. College professors and classmates are potential connections for starting your college networking.
1. Be a good student
To start networking at college, you must be a good student. Remember that hardly anyone will trust having a professional relationship with a student who does not understand the importance of studies for their career. Excessive absences and bad grades can make this process difficult
Of course, this is not all; everyone is subject to deal with unforeseen events, so don’t be discouraged if you have a bad grade. The important thing is to demonstrate that you take the course seriously and be willing to improve your academic performance. Your network of contacts can help you in this task by sharing knowledge and study materials that contribute to learning.
2. Cultivate relationships with workgroup colleagues
Always be friendly and receptive to your academic relationships. Start developing your college networking by cultivating relationships with colleagues in your workgroup. To do this, always do your part in academic work and collaborate with the group beyond what was assigned to you. Listen to colleagues and consider the opinion of all members.
You do not necessarily have to be the group leader, but you must respect the opinion and academic profile of each one. Avoid fights and arguments. In the works’ presentations, do not compete with the colleagues of the group itself to have a better performance, organize the speeches of each one, and wait your turn to speak.
3. Meet the largest number of people
It is common to identify with a certain group of people and relate only to that group. In the meantime, try to make the most of your time in college to meet as many people as possible. Start out of your comfort zone and talk to colleagues from other groups.
Don’t be content to get involved with just your classmates. Broaden your horizon and try to meet people from other courses as well. These relationships are important to make your networking bigger and more eclectic, resulting in unforeseen opportunities. A good tip for meeting other students is to attend university events.
4. Be active at the university: participate in classes and extra-class projects
A good way to create networking at college is to be perceived positively by colleagues, participate in classes when the teacher opens a space for the debate of the content, and show your knowledge and ideas. But remember, nothing in excess brings good results, be participatory without exaggeration.
Participating in extra-class projects, such as scientific initiation research or academic journeys, in addition to improving the curriculum, is a great opportunity to meet professionals who already work in the field and even include them in your networking. These activities can also help you to create a friendly relationship with teachers.
Be sure to attend academic meetings, lectures offered by the college, and cultural events; these are the best ways to meet students and teachers from other courses.
5. Transform your teachers into professional contacts
Most university professors have extensive experience in the job market. They have already built up a wide network of professional contacts, so turning them into professional contacts can greatly enrich your networking.
This is not an easy task, considering the number of students that the teacher may meet during his career. Start by being friendly and maintain a good relationship with the teacher, and throughout the semester, deepen your relationship with the teachers.
Be careful and use common sense not to be inconvenient. A good idea to start a conversation is to ask for extra content tips to help you with discipline and profession, such as books, articles, and movies. Also, show interest in the class, participate in discussions, and ask questions when necessary. You can also ask for help on how to succeed in the profession.
Sometimes, internship opportunities may arise through a teacher, who can refer the student to a vacancy in the companies where he works or be a professional bridge between the student and a professional colleague. However, it is not enough to have a friendly relationship with the teacher; you will need to demonstrate competence and responsibility through your academic performance in assessments, activities, and assignments.
6. Be willing to help
During graduation, demonstrate a willingness to genuinely help classmates, professors, and even university employees, without expecting anything in return. This is the best way to create and strengthen professional relationships. Usually, people never forget who helped them.
Whether helping to solve a classmate’s doubts or even helping the teacher pass on the class presentation content to all students, help can become an excellent job opportunity in the future.
7. Be sincere, authentic and communicate your interests
You don’t have to hide your professional interests and ambitions; all young university students are looking for opportunities to enter the job market and maintain good professional relationships. So always be sincere in your conversations and talk openly about what you hope for in your career.
Don’t be afraid to tell about your academic knowledge and professional qualities; take advantage of the conversations to exchange experiences and acquire new information. However, it would help if you did not approach people out of interest or benefit but to establish sincere relationships.
Also, try to be authentic in your relationships. Escape the sameness and be an interesting person. For that, read, consume content and be well informed; this way, you will be prepared to talk about different subjects and share interesting information.
8. Value your professional contacts
It would help if you did not look for your contact only when you need something; being seen as an interested person is a bad way to start your professional career and lose credibility among your relationship network. To avoid this situation, you must value your professional contacts, be genuine, and show real interest in them.
Remember that networking, whether at college or work, is not approaching people out of interest, but being open to new connections and possibilities. The better your image, the greater the chances of getting career opportunities.
To strengthen your professional image, be present, and participate in events that are part of your relationship network. Share content related to your course with your contacts, such as articles, reports, and news. And never speak ill of classmates or teachers; this attitude can be frowned upon in a professional relationship.
9. Use social media with discretion
Finally, forget the idea that on the internet everything is allowed. The truth is that social networks can be a great ally to develop professional bonds or become an enemy of your career; it all depends on how you use them.
Before posting any content on your social network, reflect on what the post will look like in the eyes of your classmate, teacher, or even a recruiter. Is it positive or negative?
Never write anything that could compromise your professional image; think carefully before sharing anything. Remember that, as much as you think not, people are aware of what you post on the internet.
On the other hand, you can use social networks to help you; on Facebook, for example, you can create or participate in groups, such as the university, the course, the classroom, or even groups of the profession; this is an excellent way to expand your networking, get informed about job vacancies and stay updated on the news in the area of expertise.