The Importance of Networking
We all do something for a reason. I woke up early today to finish an assignment. Why? I am motivated to work hard in the mornings because the rest of the world is asleep. If I didn’t know why I did the things I do, then I wouldn’t find the motivation to do them. This translates to my motivation for studying at university. I have dreams that require a tertiary education. I dreamt of acing my subjects, receiving my degree, and getting a job.
Along the way I learnt things are not as simple or straight-forward. I needed to check off a few things while I was studying at university. Academic achievements were just as important to attain as career building skills. A notable career building skill is networking. People feel dread when they hear this word. Amidst its associated negative connotations, networking truly is a skill every student needs. Why? For me, networking is a chance to figure yourself out and your environment. I was in second year of my studies when I went to a career event for the first time. I’ve read about networking beforehand to prepare me for a night of “casual conversation”. Needless to say, it was as casual as sitting on cacti. I did, however, feel ready. I made a few connections and nearing the end of the night, I unexpectedly landed my first internship.
A handshake here and a signature there, I started my journey into data analytics and consulting. My days working at a fast-food restaurant barely prepared me for days in the office. Customer face to face interactions decreased whilst analytical and consulting skills increased. I came out of the internship ready to tackle the next challenge. That internship would not have been possible if I hadn’t prepared and networked.
Looking back, most of that came down to luck. I did work hard but I give credit to my ability to bump into people who need help to do a job. In reality, networking is not a one-off, see-ya-never conversation. It is a series of conversations from initial handshake to semi-regular coffee catch-ups. It is a genuine relationship whether mentor-mentee, colleague, or yoga partner. Students often misunderstand what networking means; a prime example is connecting with someone over LinkedIn and never speaking to them ever again. In 2013, Porter Gale published a book on networking and how it is a powerful career advancement tactic. That book coined the famous line: “Your network is your net worth.”
So, go out there and know that networking is all about finding that genuine connection. To get started with networking go to https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/ or if you’re still not sure and have questions just contact us.