It career fair and job search season so I decided to give a little tip on my experiences with networking, which you can hopefully use and learn from for future situations! I’ll maybe even start a little series of blog posts that’ll be titled Ramiro’s Tips!
When you become more involved in your preparation towards a professional career, you will start hearing the word “networking” a bunch. Honestly, I had no clue what this meant. I figured it was going to professional events, probably titled “Networking Event”, dressed with business professional attire, and making connections with individuals who could hopefully hire you in the future. But, although this may be true to a certain extent, I did not completely understand the science of networking.
Over the past few years, visiting conferences and making friends in any class I took, I noticed that this was building my network. I was not in a professional environment that required me to have my resume or exchange my business cards. I was truly connecting with individuals that had similar interests, aspirations, or mindsets that I had. This was when I started to realize that networking is just a professional word to making new friends.
This picture shows a group of friends that I made in a conference I attended. We all had different majors, from different schools, but we had similar mindsets which allowed us to make genuine friendships, that inherently built our professional network. Although we do not talk or see each other every day, we occasionally check in on each other to see how we are doing. More so, if I wanted to travel to areas near their respective colleges, I would have someone who can show me around and possibly even stay with them for a couple days! That’s the true power of connecting with people for genuine reasons, not for hopefully working with, or getting hired by them.
So, in general, networking is just like making friends but that can have some effect on your professional life in the future. Now, that doesn’t mean you should go out and look for people who will affect your professional life, because this will make it disingenuous, but be open to the idea of making friends and intertwining conversations of goals and future aspirations. This will not only create that “network” of professionals, but it’s also a great way to make friends!