Many people hate the word networking because they either think they aren’t extroverted enough to do it, or that it’s all about taking advantage of other people. In fact, networking is all about building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships that feel authentic to you. These relationships can often be powerful assets for career decision-making and the job search process.
Benefits of networking
Employers often prefer to hire people they know, or who have connections to people they know. One way to consider this approach from the employer perspective is to think about how you can also consult your trusted friends, family, and other relations for advice and introductions to others. Employers similarly consult their networks to ensure they meet the best candidates possible.
Investing in your professional network means you can get advice, referrals and inside information from experts in your field. It also means there will be more people in the world that know who you are, what you are capable of, and the kinds of opportunities that interest you.
By taking the time to meet new people in your industries of interest, you can:
- Gain first-hand, current information about the world of work to help develop your job-search strategy.
- Connect to experts who have knowledge of trends and opportunities in your field.
- Meet interesting, like-minded people who may end up being your future supervisors, mentors, or colleagues.
Rethinking what a network is
Networking doesn’t just happen at planned professional events; it also occurs in your daily interactions with classmates, faculty, family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, supervisors and co-workers. Talk to these people about your career-related goals and ask for their help. You never know who or what they might be able to introduce to you.
The people you meet and the friends you make while studying at UBC are a part of your network too. They may be fellow students and peers now, but in 5 or 10 years they will be working professionals. Investing in these relationships can pay off in the future, not to mention making your time on campus more memorable.