With schools slowly resuming across different states in Nigeria, this conversation is long overdue. At one point in time or the other, you must’ve heard that networking, for students, is extremely important. It’s very likely that you were told that you need it to get your first (or next) job, and without it, you’d have wasted your time in school.
Indeed, these things are true. Well, you wouldn’t have exactly wasted your time in school. But, usually, networking does make quite a difference. Unfortunately, not many students seem to know how to go about it.
If you are one of those students, you’re in luck. In this guide to networking for students, we’ll be giving you a few useful tips that’ll help you master your networking game:
Don’t overthink it
When people are always placing emphasis on networking for students, it’s normal for you to get a little scared. Especially as an introvert, you might be terrified to find out that your career is hinged on your ability to talk to people. However, you really shouldn’t be so terrified. Remember that you’re not trying to convince them to fund your interplanetary research to find life on another planet. You’re just one human trying to know another human being.
If it’s proving too difficult to tame your scared mind, do a bit of practice. Unless you just happened to fall out of the sky as an eighteen-year-old, you already have your network of friends and family members. Practice on them. Start up conversations where they pretend not to know you, and then you can practice how you’d talk to them.
Research on those you want to meet beforehand
Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t stalking. If you are meeting someone particularly important, you don’t want to seem like an ignorant wannabe. So, before you even meet them, find out a few essential details about them. Among other things, this would help you start an excellent conversation with them.
Attend relevant events
Indeed, pool parties and other such things are fun (as long as you’re old enough to go there.) However, are they relevant? Do they add to your career in any way whatsoever? If you truly want to network properly as a student, you would need to start meeting those that are relevant to your field. You definitely cannot find them at the club. So, attend the events they’ll attend.
Use the internet
If you are all too terrified to go about networking with people and talking to older individuals, then the internet is for you. It provides you with the opportunity to control the conversation, respond when convenient, and maintain a safe distance that shouldn’t induce anxiety. So, to network as a student, you could use the internet. A good place to start is LinkedIn. It is a platform that brings professionals together from varying industries.
Networking is truly important, but it is not as impossible as some make it seem. So, even if you’re a student, learn it today.