How to network effectively
University experience is largely about academics but those years of higher education are also the perfect time to start your professional development. Make smart moves as a student and you’ll have more opportunities in finding a job after graduation.
Networking – what for?
Getting yourself and your talents known is crucial for starting and building your career. Networking allows meeting people who can help you in achieving your goals or at least who can put you in contact with those who can support you.
For some, especially introverted characters, approaching others may feel rather uncomforting. But don’t be scared, it’s not that hard leaving the comfort of social media and connecting with people in the real world. Simply be positive and self-conscious!
Where to start?
As a start get in touch with your existing network. Get an overview on interesting connections among your friends, relatives or friends of your parents. This is a good and easy step in beginning to discover your opportunities.
Talk to everyone about your interests – you’ll be surprised who your friends and family know. Experiences and advice from such contacts will help you in finding the right direction on your career path.
Where to look further
Your first stop should be your university’s career center – TU Career Center. Don’t end your studies without taking the advantage of the FREE services from the first year to the last. We are here to support you. These services include resume help, networking events, lectures and career fairs.
Only if you are lucky you will meet the right people by chance. So better strategically look for these events that help in boosting your network. Check our event calendar.
Although we are living in the digital-age, where we mostly focus on technical devices, communicating on social platforms or via messaging providers, we should never forget: networking is about people!
Even today the face-to-face networking at events or meetings cannot be avoided. To stand out from the crowd and make a positive impression on your counterparts make sure to know what you want and brush up your interpersonal skills.
When going to networking events, never go unprepared. Have a plan on who you want to meet and what you want to achieve. Make a lasting impression by getting your talk straight. Be clear on what you want to say about yourself. Prepare a short pitch about yourself – a so called “elevator pitch” – to get your message across impactful.
It may be easier for extroverts but don’t worry if you are not. Orientate the subject around a common interest and have a friend by your side – this will keep the conversation running and gives you confidence. The first takes will feel unnatural, just remember to listen carefully, be confident in yourself and to smile!
Once you’ve made connections, keep them. Stay in touch via networking platforms like linkedin and Xing. It is an effective asset to networking and a tool for recruiters. Start building your profile during university – adding professors and colleagues – and keep it updated. At the same time tidy up any unprofessional content from your social media channels.
Follow up with people you meet, keep updated on people you know and track new potential contacts. To express interest in a company and to keep track of job openings it is helpful to engage with and follow them on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and co.
For further advice, contact the TU Career Center.
Author: Michaela Schuhmayer, MAZurück zur Übersicht