Mastering The Art Of Networking: Tips For University Students
Whether you’re just starting your higher education journey or you’re halfway through, an essential skill you’ll need to master is networking.
We know, the thought of networking can be intimidating and something you’re not used to, but trust us, it’s not as scary as it seems.
In fact, it can be a fun and valuable experience that opens doors to some exciting opportunities for your future, and it’s always better to start off early.
To help you out, we’ve put together some tips to master the art of networking during your time at university.
This way, you’ll be prepared when it comes to graduating from uni and going out into the working world!
1. Be Authentic
When networking it’s important that you remember to be authentic and genuine, as nobody likes someone who pretends to be someone they’re not!
People are more likely to connect with you if you’re honest and approachable and share your passions, interests, and aspirations.
Hopefully whilst networking with others you’ll find like-minded individuals with similar passions who could become lifelong friends or people you collaborate with in the future.
We know, sometimes you may want to put on a bit of a front especially if you’re a shy person, but staying true to yourself is key.
2. Make The Most Of Social Media
Whilst social media is a great way to connect with friends and share memes, it can also be a fantastic tool for networking.
Platforms like LinkedIn provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills, interests, and experiences to potential employers and industry professionals.
So, make sure to keep your profile updated, regularly post, connect with other students, and engage in online discussions!
It’s not just LinkedIn either, there’s online groups on the likes of Facebook that you can join to network with people in your field of study or industry.
Social media isn’t just useful for updating your online presence, you can also utilise it to stay up to date on industry news and find out more about your chosen field.
3. Engage In Campus Activities
What better place to start your student networking journey than right on campus? University life offers so many opportunities to meet new people and make connections.
Be sure to attend societies and groups, join organisations related to your interests, and attend campus events and seminars, you never know who you could meet.
The more you immerse yourself in the campus community, the more likely you are to meet people who share your passions!
If you’re living in our student accommodation, you can even use our residents app KLIQ to host networking events to meet other students!
4. Attend Networking Events
Social media can be a great way to network with others but nothing beats a face to face event.
Try to keep an eye out for networking events like mixers, seminars, workshops, and industry-specific conferences.
We understand attending networking events is daunting especially if you’ve never done it before, but everyone’s in the same boat as you, and are probably just as nervous.
These events will give you the chance to meet industry professionals and alumni who can share valuable insights and offer guidance for your future career!
5. Perfect Your Small Talk
Striking up conversations with people you don’t know can feel awkward and intimidating, we get it, but perfecting your small talk will help break the ice.
With a little bit of practice you’ll be a pro at small talk in no time at all, we’d suggest starting with a friendly smile, a handshake, and a basic conversation starter.
You could follow a similar line to this: “Hey nice to meet you, I’m [your name], and I’m studying [your subject]. What about you?”
You’ll probably find a lot of people really enjoy talking about what they do and their interests, which will take the pressure off – it’s not as scary as it seems!
6. Be A Good Listener
When networking, it’s really important to be a good listener whilst engaging in conversations with other people.
Sure, talking is important but you’re also there to learn about others, so make sure you pay attention to what people say, show genuine interest and ask meaningful questions.
Not only will this help you to understand the other person better but it will also enable you to find common ground and create a stronger connection.
7. Remember To Be Patient
It’s important to note that building meaningful relationships takes time, so make sure to remember to be patient when networking.
When attending networking events, you may make a few new connections at one event, and not have as much luck at another, it really just depends.
You’re probably not going to establish a good set of industry contacts overnight, it takes a bit of hard work and time to build this up.
Don’t get disheartened though, keep putting yourself out there, attend events on and off campus, interact with people online and so on!
8. Don’t Forget To Stay In Touch
After attending network events and making new connections, don’t stop there, make sure to follow up with the industry professionals you’ve met and stay in touch.
Whether it’s sending a friendly email, connecting on social media, sending them a LinkedIn message or even arranging a coffee meet-up.
Sending follow-ups show that you value the relationship and keep you on their radar, which could be helpful when you graduate and are looking for opportunities.
On the other hand though, don’t send follow up messages to every single person you’ve met, this can come across as a bit pushy. It’s all about creating authentic relationships!
Networking can be a really rewarding experience throughout your university journey and beyond, and hopefully these tips have helped you master it.
Good luck, and remember, student networking is nerve-wracking at first but it’s something that takes time, like they say practice makes perfect!
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