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 lasting and mutually beneficial relationships that feel authentic to you.
Benefits of networking
Employers often prefer to hire people they know, or who have connections to people they know. While at first glance this might sound unfair, consider that you look to your close friends and allies for advice and introductions to others all the time. Employers look to their networks because the hiring process is complex and expensive and they want to make the best decision possible.
Building a professional network means you can get advice, referrals and inside information from experts in your field.
By meeting new people in the industry, at an event, or through your contacts, 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 or colleagues.
Rethinking what a network is
Consider who is already in your network now.
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 see if they can connect you to others. Always be prepared for unexpected networking opportunities.
The people you meet and the friends you make while you're here 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.