Networking. It’s a word that excites some students, and scares others. Regardless of your standpoint, networking is incredibly important for all students, no matter what you study. It’s something that students often don’t get the opportunity to do in their classes or degree – they often look to student societies to provide them with the chance to network with professionals.
We’ve compiled the top 3 reasons why networking is important and why your faculty-based club should be providing opportunities for your members to network with industry professionals.
Gain valuable industry insight
Networking provides students with the opportunity to network and build industry connections, bringing them closer to potential internship openings and job vacancies. These relationships are also incredibly important as these professionals provide valuable insight for students, giving them an idea of what the industry is like, how to best get your foot in the door and sharing insider tips and tricks of the trade. If you can’t run an event to showcase this, why not publish stories from professionals on your social media accounts? This allows students to gain valuable industry insight from the comfort of their very own homes. Check out our case study to see how the University of Queensland’s Journalism and Communication Society (JACS) has done this for their members.
Build connections and relationships
Networking presents the opportunity for students to form connections and build relationships with industry professionals. Many students tend to think that building these connections is only important for students and they should be fostered for the sole reason of career progression and internship opportunities. But, this is not the case at all. Having connections in the industry you’re hoping to work in is beneficial for both you and the professional, if you go about it the right way. If your sole intention is to get a job or an internship, chances are, the professional isn’t going to be interested in forming a connection with you. However, if you open yourself to the possibility of having an ongoing professional relationship with them, you’re much more likely to receive a positive response from them, especially if you can offer them something in return. Many university alumni and industry experts are more than happy to sit down with students over a coffee to answer any questions and provide any advice.
Make yourself known
One of the biggest benefits students gain from networking with industry professionals is making themselves known to those working in the field and at the organisations they’re hoping to be employed with in the future. Even just having the opportunity to introduce themselves to employees of organisations can have massive weight when it comes to students applying for jobs. If those employees have any say in the hiring process in the company, you want your name to stand out! It may even be as simple as someone recognising your name from a university networking event and saying, “Hey, I remember meeting this person at event. They were really lovely, and we had a great chat”. This also extends to making yourself known on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter if appropriate.