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The importance of networking

 Written by    October 24, 2018

“Networking” is a term you never hear until college, and when you do hear it, it seems vague at best. Personally, I didn’t think networking made sense; how am I supposed to actively “network,” and is that really what’s going to present opportunities to me? Aren’t my jobs and experiences going to come from going to career fairs, handing out my resume, and completing applications?

The truth is, you never know where an opportunity will come from. Of course, it can very easily come from a career fair or an active job search, but it can also come from word-of-mouth, a chance meeting, or a friend of a friend who just so happens to have an open position at their company that you would fit perfectly. Networking is all about connecting with people from anywhere and everywhere; the more people you establish relationships with, the more likely you’ll come across someone or something that may just have a huge impact on your future. And luckily, Ohio State’s size makes networking really easy.

If you check your student email, odds are you have newsletters and invites to TONS of events that will connect you with people. As an English major, I get an invite every year to the department’s alumni panel and dinner, as well as notifications for readings, editor’s panels, English undergraduate events and more. I attended an award banquet with my boyfriend after he received a scholarship through the school, and he met multiple professionals with connections to local and national businesses. Things are going on all the time. And then, of course, you have your professors.

Ohio State is a research institution, and many of the professors here have developed a wide national and international network as they pursue and publish their own research and evaluate the work of colleagues and others. Establishing good relationships with your professors not only helps you in the classroom, but also outside of it: Your professor may connect you to a job in the department office, a position as a research or teaching assistant, or something else.

Something similar happened to me this year. My poetry workshop instructor is actually the poetry editor for The Journal, Ohio State’s literary journal. After being in her class for a few weeks, she offered me a position as a first reader for The Journal to help in the editing process. The opportunity came out of nowhere, and it was one I didn’t even know was available; but through chance and the connection with my professor, I am now taking my first steps into the world of editing (which is great for both experience and my resumé).

Attend events. Establish relationships with your professors. Use LinkedIn. Get on Handshake (Ohio State’s own career network between companies, businesses and students). Talk to the people in your classes, on your floor and all around you. You never know what could come out of it.


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