Let’s just say that you’re absolutely fortunate to have been born in the digital age, where every wish of yours can be fulfilled right at your fingertips with a click or two!
That’s how abundant and giving the internet is. Although there are downsides to it, when optimized wisely, there are also umpteenth benefits that are unparalleled and make your life easier. Whether you are a professional or a student, you know where to resort to in case of a query, a doubt, curiosity about a topic, or just about any requirement. Especially, if you are a learning being, on their way to score a degree or a certificate in your given field and are doing all of it in the pandemic climate. In other words, if you are a student who is studying and trying to build your network in the pandemic era, the internet is your best shot. As we said, it comes with its own cons and pros too, and it is up to you how you make the best use out of the many features available to you. Before we deep dive into this, let’s understand why you even need networking as a student in the first place? Why Do You Need Networking as a Student?
It is wrong to assume that only working professionals need to network and build connections. As students, who are working towards that professional career, you are, in fact, setting up a base of connections for your future network right there as well. So, even if you as a student, may not be in immediate need of a network, it is still a part of your journey. Here is exactly why it is important for you.
Source: Unsplash Sets the Tone for Future Opportunities Networking is a process and not something that lends you benefits immediately. Having a network of like-minded as well as diverse professionals helps lay down the foundation of your future success. Say, someone you may know in your network may end up referring you for your first internship/job right after your graduation. You see? By building a network early on, you only accelerate your future success with the right people/mentors around.
Helps You Build Confidence
The more industry people you meet, the more you learn and the more you grow. The more you network, the more you learn to communicate the right way. All of these little things add up and contribute to your confidence as an individual and as a professional/student too.
Opens Up Your Mind
Again, the more people you meet from your industry, the more you expand your mind. Everyone comes with a different perspective and knowledge, and when you engage with different people with diverse mindsets and approaches, you only open your mind furthermore, bringing yourself more knowledge, expertise, and just a wider perspective to your career and life. Helps Build Long-Lasting Connections
Networking is a fickle concept. You can never place a number or a timeline to how many people you want to meet or what incentives you want out of it. The one rule of networking is that it helps you in the form of meaningful and long-lasting connections. So, when you do begin to make connections in your industry, you not only build a presence for yourself but also make long-lasting professional relations that do come at handy in some way.
Why Digital Networking is Actually a Boon
So, now you know why you need networking as a student, but there are two kinds of networking. Offline and online. While until some years back, offline was the only mode of networking, today, we mostly just rely on online networking. And, we can't disagree with the fact that it is actually a boon for us! Why, you ask? Here you go! - It helps us network right from the comfort of our beds. You can be sitting on your couch or a hilltop and be able to make connections and build your existing network. It doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have a digital device and an internet connection, the world can be in your palms, quite literally. - It helps us travel across boundaries without really having to. An offline networking event restricts us to people only in a certain area and from a particular industry or city. With digital networking, you can connect with anyone and everyone, no matter where they are in the world.
Your Resources for Digital Networking as a Student 1. LinkedIn
When we speak of digital networking, this is the first platform that comes to our mind, doesn’t it? Curated especially for the purpose of networking for professionals, LinkedIn is simple yet tricky. The simple part is that you have access to it with nothing but an email address. Once there, you have
access to its various features, with which you can initiate work-related or industry-related conversations. Now, what’s tricky here is that it takes the right approach and the right kind of content to hit the spot and really make a difference and a space for yourself. It certainly takes work to build that presence and connect with the right people through that.
Another approach you can take is by reaching out to your role models in the industry with an appreciation message or connecting with like-minded students/professionals for a potential collaboration. Contexts can be many for connecting with industry professionals on the platform, but maintaining your own professionalism and politeness is key.
2. Networking Clubs & Events
While most businesses have moved online, so have networking clubs that previously only catered to online events. Lucky for us, today many networking events and clubs are also conducting online events where members are encouraged to interact via a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Meet.
It doesn’t matter if you are still just a student or someone who has just entered the industry, joining these clubs and being a part of industry events outside the club is also a great booster for you in every way. They not only pave the way for improved confidence and communication skills but also for a great network foundation.
3. Social Media Platforms
An informal yet one of the most impactful modes of digital networking, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram in particular work wonders in putting a word about yourself out there and building connections. Facebook comes with many industry-specific groups where members initiate meaningful dialogues on important industry topics and push out other requirements. Instagram also serves as a great tool for networking today with its many features and interactive opportunities. You could join certain webinars or Live and engage with like-minded people. You could create a page meant for your work and update it strategically for more traction and to meet people. The bottom line here is that this route of networking is limitless, where anything can become a tactic for networking.
The Final Takeaway
As established, digital networking is a lot easier and impactful than offline networking in many ways. What takes the award here is the endless modes and possibilities available to us today. While you’re open to experimentation and finding out what kind of digital networking works best for you, it is imperative to adhere to a few must-dos and don'ts. - Do initiate and make the first move but don’t overstep and come off as intrusive. - Do optimize the power of online platforms but don’t violate the privacy of someone. - Do experiment and explore your options but don’t think too much about what works. It takes time. - Do take the hints and step back when needed but don’t lose your patience, professionalism, and politeness. Well, the list can go on and on, but we could say that these are the highlights. Ready to trump this new-age networking now? As they say, your network is your net worth!
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