Road to Graduation: Networking Basics

Road to Graduation: Networking Basics

By: npope
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As a Communications student I've been told many many times that these days it's hard to get a job and getting your degree is merely an expectation, not the exception, which is why it’s important to go above and beyond just getting good grades in school. 

Upon seeking career advice from many professionals, I have heard one word over and over, it’s "Networking". Networking is essentially building relationships with professionals in your industry. As time consuming and challenging as it can be, it’s important to focus on, especially when you are on the hunt for a job. Here are a few reasons why:

1) Job Potential

If you are looking for a job and have a network full of people in your industry they might be able to help you. Whether they hire you, or they are able to connect you to someone that can hire you.

2) Knowing Who to Hire

Further down the road when you are a fabulous CEO of your own company, or you are in the position to hire someone, it helps to have a large network.  If you know people from different fields it will certainly make your search to hire someone that much easier!

3) You Never Know

People you meet in classes, at work, or anywhere else might end up coming into your life again, or they might be helpful in your life in the future.  So it certainly does not hurt to network!

So, it's clear that networking is important but how do you do this?  Whether you know it or not, you have a network already. Friends, family, coworkers are all a part of your network, and all offer potentially important opportunities. Albeit, some members of your network may play more critical of a role than others, but again- it doesn't hurt!  Here are some ways that I’ve personally increased my network:

Volunteering is not only a great way to give back to your community but can really help you professionally by building your network and skills. For instance, I volunteered at a conference for their public relations team, even though I didn't have much experience. I learned from people who had experience in the area and I was able to meet industry professionals. Not to mention I got to go to a cool conference for free and I also met a really great friend there!

Joining a Professional Network
Want to rub shoulders with some really relevant people? There are clubs, networks, and groups that you can join that will give you the opportunity to meet some fabulous professionals. It may seem intimidating to join at first but it's well worth it! Look around Vancouver, on LinkedIn, or even here at SFU!

Informational Interviews
Essentially, informational interviews are what they sound like: you interview an industry professional to find out information, and this is normally done over coffee. This is a great opportunity to be known in the industry, ask some great questions, and learn tips about the profession. For more information about informational interviews check out my other article on the basics of informational interviews.

By making more opportunities to meet people, you’ll have more opportunities to meet the right people who may be able to help you. By making sure you focus your time on relevant experiences and meeting relevant people, you can really help your chances of finding a great job in the future!

 Beyond the Article

Natalie Pope will be graduating from SFU in June 2014 with a Communication and English degree.  She has completed 4 work terms, 2 as a marketing assistant and 2 at SFU.  She has also blogged about her co-op journey throughout the years, and is now working on figuring out where her experiences will take her next!  This is why she has been speaking to professionals in her field to try and get a sense of what she would like to do in the future.
Posted on March 16, 2014