4 Ways To Build A Network As A University Student

The first year of university is the perfect time to start building your network. Whether you’re trying to find your next internship, a job after graduation, or aiming to start a business sometime during those years of study, you’ll need to work with others in order to help you reach your goals. If you are in your senior year at a private school, finishing online school, or taking a gap year, it is a good idea to look at the connections and opportunities a university provides while applying to it. Collaboration and networking have become two of the most important skills looked for by most companies around the world, they are important no matter what industry you work in. Moreover, conducting a little research will show you how many of the finest businesses today excelled due to the university network of the founder. Thus, by making connections and building strong relationships, you can ensure that your career gets off to the best possible start, no matter what opportunities await you after graduation. 

Here are four ways you can build a network while at university.

1) Join your Students’ Union

Students’ unions are one of your university’s biggest resources, providing much-needed help with issues like finances, accommodation and events. Many are also well connected on campus, allowing them to make introductions for you that can really speed up your career progression. Ask about membership when you start at university; if you don’t have time during freshers’ week or before exams start, go along anyway and find out what it is they do. You may not be able to join right away, but by keeping in touch you’ll be sure to be part of some great opportunities later down the line. Remember: students’ unions aren’t just there for students; they’re run by students too, so get involved! That could mean joining their board of directors (usually very few meetings) or just making sure you know how to get involved in their socials and other activities.

2) Get Involved in Clubs

One of the most effective ways to meet people while in university is by participating in extracurricular activities like clubs, sports teams, and hobby groups. Meetings and events hosted by these groups are a great way to meet new people who share your interests or values. You may also be able to find employment through one of these organisations: every year, many schools host career fairs for students, alumni, and businesses that are looking for fresh talent. These events can be another great opportunity for networking with professionals in your field! Looking to explore more options? Talk to upperclassmen, counsellors, and program leaders at school; they will likely have recommendations on which groups you should look into joining. Before graduation day rolls around, make sure you’ve done everything you can to get some valuable connections on your side—literally.

3) Go to Events

Even if you’re not actually attending a networking event or social gathering, it pays to know what’s going on in your local business community. Get out and attend seminars, conferences, lectures, and other events (not related specifically to university)—and go with an open mind. You never know who you might meet. After all, as any entrepreneur will tell you: networking is essential to success. At some point, most people decide they need to network more effectively—usually when they realise that their job search isn’t progressing as quickly as they’d like.  But networking is also important even before you’ve started looking for work; your current network can help put you at the top of hiring managers’ lists. So expand upon whatever networks you already have. Get to know new people, whether through professional groups or other activities outside of work hours. In the digital world, there are also several platforms such as Eventbrite which have listed a variety of events taking place both in and around your university as well as online. 

4) Stay Connected Online

Social media can be a great tool for networking. It is no wonder it was a key component to keeping everyone connected during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and even now. Moreover, the importance of social media has extended well beyond connection, with it being essential in most people’s careers, from finding a job to staying relevant. Getting started with social media during your time at university can be life changing. However, like anything else, there is more than one way to do it right. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is the place where recruiters go for job leads and employees go for career connections; so if you plan on building up your personal brand professionally, then putting yourself out there is essential. Start by joining relevant professional organisations online (ex: Accounting Club). Then, start commenting and responding to discussions with well-thought-out posts of your own. You can also find a network through Facebook Groups and connect with many people who share similar interests or are looking to collaborate with university students. Many students find brand ambassador opportunities online, which is a great way to earn money from the comfort of your home (or dorm). The idea is to experiment with a multitude of platforms and eventually focus on the one that serves you best.

Overall, it is a good idea to start creating your network from the very day you walk in to your first class at University. Remember also that the first impression someone gets of you can take you a long way. If you seem sociable in the beginning, chances are more people will approach you for events and opportunities over the coming months and years. Having an outgoing personality is not so much a natural trait but a skill which can be developed, and it gets easier with more practice. So make sure you challenge yourself to make the right connections through your years in university, and you will find out the positive benefits of it.

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