Networking for the Future
In this day and age, meeting the right people can make a huge difference in your career path. You may not even know which path you may take until you meet someone, discover something interesting, or have an opportunity fall into your lap. The best advice while being at college is to NETWORK with as many people as possible.
Our social media outlets have exploded into a platform where students and people of all ages can reach out to peers in their respective fields, ask questions, gain information, and most importantly; meet the right people. When I first started school; it was the degree you received, how well you knew the material, and the tasks of the job you are aiming for are something within your wheelhouse. Now we are becoming an "experienced" based society where the more you know the more you grow. Firsthand experience is something that many employers look for when it comes to taking on a new job, having that experience is one thing but the networking with the people who have already gone through that experience can help you succeed as well.
Internships are a great way of getting some firsthand experience in a field you may be interested working in. During my early days of college, I interned for many professional sports teams as I wanted to get into sports management and new media. I was able to work with the Los Angeles Clippers, a professional NBA team, and also have the opportunity to see the day to day operations of a globally known organization. These experiences not only allowed me to network with many people in the industry, but also interact with other people who were not in the sports field, but who were all extremely important networking socialites. I was able to meet CEO’s of huge Fortune 500 companies, sports personalities, athletes, managers, sales reps, training staff, and celebrities. I was given so many job offers it astounded me as even though I may not have had an education in a certain field, it was the networking with these people that abled myself to get my name out there and get the proverbial foot in the door.
Even though my career path didn’t lead to a professional sports job, I gained a lot of knowledge of the business, and met many people along the way. It opened up many doors for me personally and prospectively for the future if I wish to change jobs. I still contact these people I networked with and I still receive job offers, but it is the relationships you maintain that are worth a great deal. No matter what degree or job path you are perusing; it doesn’t hurt to network outside of your professional wheelhouse.
My advice to students of any age is to network as much as possible. Pick up a summer internship, volunteer at a place you have interests in, and do anything you can to get your name out there. You may not be getting paid for your work, but the experience and the people you meet along the way are priceless.