Many of us have heard that the world is no longer focused on what it is that we know, but instead now is all about who we know. As individuals are pursuing advanced degrees at higher rates, the world is becoming more and more competitive. With several people conveying similar skill sets and bringing identical credentials to the table, the job market is now oversaturated with talent. This has resulted in the increasing power of connections within professional spaces. In other words, knowing the right person or people in addition to your qualifications can set you apart from the crowd and open doors to various opportunities that are otherwise unattainable. Given this reality, people are placing a higher degree of energy and effort to build networks with the “right” parties. As people, it is important to establish connections, but to do so authentically. Building relationships is an investment in your career—in fact, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking.
Networking Tips for Graduate Students
1) Join as Many Events and Groups as Possible
In graduate school, you collaborate with peers from different professional backgrounds and often have the opportunity to attend a variety of networking events—from organizational clubs to career fairs. It is important that you’re taking advantage of these opportunities!
2) Reach Out to Your Professors
Faculty members are a valuable resource, not just in terms of the skills and industry expertise they provide, but for the connections they offer. It is essential that you reach out and get to know them beyond the classroom.
3) Do Your Research
Before attending an event, check out who will be there, if possible. From students to professors and other professionals, if there’s someone you’re interested in meeting, then browse their LinkedIn bios to learn more about their background and hobbies. Doing this can help you draft the right questions to ask in-person or via email.
4) Be Helpful to Others
Whether you’re organizing a study group for an upcoming exam or sending a few relevant industry-related articles to a classmate, be known as a resource to others.
5) Find New People to Meet
In graduate school, it’s important to continuously establish new relationships in order to enhance your network. The people you already know, whether a fellow student, professor, or staff member, can be a great reference to meeting others.
6) Keep in Touch
Once you’ve established new connections, it’s important to keep in touch.