Lifestyle

How to build and establish professional connections at uni

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If there’s one thing university can offer in bucket loads, it’s networking opportunities and chances to grow your connections. Unique in its nature, it’s unlikely you’ll ever find yourself surrounded by quite so many driven, hard-working and creative people in one place again. So, it’s best to seize the chance to establish as many links as you possibly can before you’re chucked into the ‘big, bad world’ of employment.

 

Introducing yourself as much as possible may seem pretty obvious, but every opportunity is a networking one. Each chance you get to speak to new people is a way to get yourself out there. By providing a friendly face it makes it likelier that people will approach you in the future with professional requests. Similarly, it’s always much easier to ask others for help in the future if you’ve already laid the groundwork with your great first impression.

 

Listening to what peoples’ courses are and their personal interests is a really useful way of making sure you’ll know people in multiple industries in the future. It’s probable that if ever you need any advice or help from a specific industry, you’ll have already met someone in that field at university. Picking up on those already established links is much easier than trying to get the help you need from a complete stranger.

 

Building and maintaining an online presence is also something that will help in the long-run. Sure, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with like-minded people, but it’s pretty formal and is mainly used as a platform to show off your professional self. By adding those you meet on Facebook, it’s easier to reach out to them in the future should you need to. As it is informal, asking for advice or a few questions doesn’t seem so daunting.

 

Universities are always running events that give you the chance to meet people with similar interests and career goals as yourself. This could be a guest lecture, careers fayre or specially tailored networking events. Each event offers a selection of new people that in the future you may want to bounce ideas off or ask for a helping hand.

 

Extra-curricular societies are never a bad idea, and if you’re planning a career in something you already have a passion for it’s always great to connect with people that share your interests. You never know, you could be working alongside them some day! There are so many societies out there for you to join from journalism to charity work. They all have the potential to lead into a successful career path. The connections you build now can prove invaluable in the future.

 

With university offering the experience that it does, it would be ridiculous to pass up what is probably the largest and most useful networking event of your career. Building those links is a definite way to get a head start in whatever field you choose to pursue. A simple “hello” can make a huge difference in creating connections. Whilst university may be a great place to start, it’s never too early to get your name out to professionals.

 

Get ready to expand your horizons!

 

Words by Alice Campbell

Edited by Rosie Mary Kathleen Boon

Rosie is your lifestyle editor.

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