Every week, Perdeby takes a look at something you should have learnt in school to assist you in your day-to-day life. This week, we take a brief look at how to network.
It really isn’t about what you know– most people who will graduate with the same degree as you, will have some degree of the knowledge that you have. What can separate you from the crowd is the amount of effort you have put in to know the right people who can help you advance in your career. These are student friendly ways to build a network:
Your lecturers are a good starting point
While you may not enjoy going to class to hear your lecturer read half-heartedly from the slides, your lecturer has a vast array of knowledge on the subject and knows people who work in the industry. Forging an academic relationship with your lecturer can prove to be very beneficial, not only to your academic success, but your career as well. Your lecturer can give you insider tips on the newest industry developments, advice on how to approach potential employers, and give you a stellar recommendation letter for scholarships and job opportunities.
Join a student organisation
University offers every student the opportunity to go beyond their academics by having a number of organisations catering to a multitude of interests an individual can have and gives them a chance to meet people who have a passion for the same thing. Student organisations usually hold workshops, seminars, community service days, networking events, and offer many other resources to help people gain skills relevant to their interests. They can also help cultivate relationships that can be life-long connections, and these connections may be pivotal in your future undertakings.
Use social media to your advantage
Social media connects you to a variety of people, many of whom you would have never had access to in your own space. Use that to your advantage by having a social media account that reflects your career aspirations, while still giving a glimpse of who you are to those who look at your profile. Do not be afraid to tweet the people you admire and ask about new developments in your field. Add them as connections on LinkedIn and ask for career advice– many enjoy interacting with students. This platform creates familiarity with the person, which can lead to faster and more enthusiastic responses to emails about mentoring, job shadowing, internships or networking events you may be interested in.
Image: Elmarie Kruger