I’m sure by now it’s no big shocker that networking is an imperative skill to master. But do you really understand what that means? It’s so important to understand that it’s not about sucking up to partners at recruiting events. It’s about how you interact with people on a day-to-day basis.
It sounds cheesy, but being nice to people around you goes a long way. Always be respectful and be aware of the type of impression you’re making. Get to know different people in your classes. You never know where you may see those people again. That one guy in all your classes may one day be your co-worker…or maybe even your interviewer! Take advantage of the different opportunities to meet new people. For example, while working on group projects is always a major pain, working that closely with other people makes it easy to get to know them. I’ve had some not-so-great experiences working in groups, but I’ve also met some pretty cool people while doing so. The same thing goes for professors. They are a great resource, whether for a letter of recommendation or even a job recommendation. My favorite thing about being a teaching assistant is forming great relationships with professors. I love interacting with professors on a daily basis and getting to know them in a different setting. Most of my professors have experience in the corporate world and can provide great advice and guidance. That’s the best part of networking, getting to know new people whop are different from you and learning about their experiences.
Which brings me to my next point, it’s not just about how many people you know but the type of relationships you make. There’s no benefit in knowing a ton of people if those people don’t necessarily know you. Take the time to genuinely get to know someone. Say hi to people in the hallway. Stop and have a conversation. You may actually form great friendships that could prove beneficial in the future.