Most students and new grads know that networking can be an important factor in landing that dream entry-level job.
However, it shouldn’t be the only reason young professionals network. While networking can certainly speed up a job search, there is a lot more to it. Networking can help you build relationships with industry professionals, gain new perspectives on industries, and develop valuable interpersonal skills.
As a graduate student who has attended several networking events and participated in numerous informational interviews, here are some of the important lessons I have learned.
Why you should meet an industry professional from the same industry
They can serve as a mentor and provide you with some insights into your industry. They might even have some helpful tips for solving a challenging work problem. Meeting successful people in your field can also inspire you to work harder and perhaps even think outside the box.
Why you should meet an industry professional from a different industry
If you are interested in changing career paths, meeting with an industry professional from your desired field can help you learn about current industry trends and challenges, and ultimately decide if it could be a good fit for you. Furthermore, if you’re looking to break into an industry that is closely associated with another field, learning more about it will make you more knowledgeable and employable. For example, if you are a Human Resources professional working in the sales industry, connect with a sales professional to learn more about what they do. You can then use this new knowledge to optimize your work to their needs.
Networking is not always easy for students and new grads. It takes practice and time to get comfortable with the concept. But once you do, it can be an egg-cellent platform for professional development and mentorship.