Next to experience and a solid education, networking might be the next most important skill that any would-be job hunter might want to improve to accelerate their career and job prospects.
That’s right, we said “skill”.
Just like any other worthwhile endeavor, networking takes practice and the right mindset to fully benefit from.
In fact, according to a 2016 LinkedIn poll of 3000 hiring managers, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking!
Going back to a graduate school isn’t something you should be afraid of and is a perfect environment to learn and improve their networking skills. The connections they make can greatly benefit their career in the coming years.
In graduate school, there are lots of important people to meet and connect with. Classmates, industry professionals, and professors are only some of the like-minded people you can meet. Take advantage of your time in graduate school and apply some of these tips to make and improve your connections.
Tip #1: Be Involved
To build relationships with your peers you have to be involved. This means attending events or clubs in your spare time. In this way, you are connecting to your peers through a more personal level.
Aside from the people from school, this is also a chance to expand your network outside of the school. This is because most programs bring in guest speakers or industry leaders.
Tip #2: Local Networking
Aside from working on your network within the school, you can also expand your network to your local area. Try to research professional organizations as well as local events that are in line with your profession. This kind of networking works especially well if you’re planning to stay in that region.
The connections you make with various companies while you’re still at school can potentially turn into an opportunity to be employed after you finish school. Some students would also choose a school due to its location and opportunity to network in the area.
Tip #3: Include Your Professors In Your Network
Professors provide their graduate students with their skill and expertise in the specific industry and they can also prove to be valuable connections. They may also have their connections that you can include in your network as well. This is possible if you go beyond the classroom in connecting with them.
Tip #4: Use Your Student Status
Many professionals and industry leaders are likely to welcome students rather than those that are already active in the workforce to talk to them. They know that students are still in the learning phase and they want to be part of that. In this case, you should talk and connect to as many as you can.
Getting them to talk is great but your impact on them is also crucial to making connections. If you want to impress them, make sure you do your research. Know everything you need to know about them, their career and how they got there. With this knowledge, it would be much easier to strike up a conversation with them.
Tip #5: Update Your Online Presence
Networking can be done in many ways. With today’s technology, your online presence is very important. Being searchable and present online makes it easier to connect even when you’re geographically far apart from each other.