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Networking is a very important part of starting your career and building solid connections and relationships that will be very beneficial for you in the future. While learning in the classroom is one thing, making real world connections and learning outside the classroom is also essential as well. As a college student, it can be nerve racking to make connections with other professionals, but it will give you a huge advantage when you do go to apply for jobs and enter the working world.

Go To Events

Classes, projects, essays, internships, and extracurricular activities can seem to take up most of your time throughout your college career, however it is important to work in time to go to networking events. Going to networking events and career fairs that your school hosts, even if you are not looking for a job just yet. Making these connections and having them remember your face when it is time to apply for a job in the career world will give you a leg up on the competition.

Maintain Connections

Networking isn’t just about collecting business cards and hoping people will remember you when the time comes. It is also about maintaining these relationships. If you really click with someone, or are interested in learning more about what they do or the company they work for, don’t be afraid to shoot them an email or invite them for coffee. They might even give you insight into a new career path you didn’t think about before.

Don’t Limit Yourself

While it is extremely important to make connections in the field you are hoping to work in one day, don’t limit yourself to just networking with professionals in that field. You never know what connections someone else has that can help you. In addition, you could end up working with clients in many different industries depending on your career path so making those connections now will definitely benefit you. You also shouldn’t just limit networking to events or meetings. Networking can happen at your local coffee shop or your local bar, so it is important to always be prepared with an elevator speech or a business card.

While good grades and extracurriculars are important to being successful, networking also plays an important role in student’s lives and should not be put off or ignored until it is time to go into the job world.