There is a strange stigma attached to networking, and many people see it as an activity that only occurs during breakfast meetings in the local business park once a week.
The truth is that networking is a vital part of any business growth, and a very important process for you to master during your postgraduate study.
Who You Know not What You Know Although your actual academic studies are hugely important, effective networking may be what actually opens doors for you and makes things happen in your career. The business world is largely defined by people giving others opportunities, or deciding to collaborate together, and if you spend your entire university time sat at home in a reclusive state with your head in the books, you could well be missing out on a whole world of opportunity.
Networking gives you a chance to build relationships, discover new topics and local news, learn from other people’s mistakes, connect with industry insiders, and establish yourself as an expert. A recent survey conducted by www.scienceboard.net showed that networking was actually responsible for 90% of people finding employment, with cold CV submissions only securing 4%-10% of successful job applications.
Breaking Away from Tunnel Vision It is easy to get bogged down with the amount of work you have in front of you, and to become something of a hermit as you desperately devote all of your time towards getting your work finished. It takes a conscious effort for you to break free from your habits and try something new. Why not get involved with some networking events and see where it leads you?
It is important to break away from your studies at certain times during your week in order to broaden your horizons and get involved in external activities. Although you main goal is to graduate as quickly as possible, you should also keep in mind the 90% figure from the research. You need to put yourself out there in order to improve your chances of finding a job during this time.
How to Network There are plenty of different ways to network, some of which you will naturally find easier to deal with than others;
- Talk to your professors – you never know who they may know or how they may be able to help you
- Attend networking events
- Attend career fairs, product shows, seminars etc
Just remember that when you network, it is not about hard selling yourself, your products, or your services, it is about building a relationship with that person, and from there you may find doors opening left right and centre.