Business cards are also stupid.
For many college students (including myself), the idea of networking or “building professional relationships” feels daunting. When networking is even mentioned to me a little bit, it becomes apparent that I am literally an infant in this world, and most future employers will probably see me in that light after I graduate. The idea of networking makes me want to fucking vomit because I feel so inadequate.
The point is: I feel like I have never been well prepared or adept in my education at learning how to network and build those professional relationships. There isn’t really a class on it at NYU, and my first interaction with building those relationships is when I was told to get a LinkedIn. My only “connections” on the site are some of my friends, a couple of professors, and…my high school English teacher? Not sure how that helps.
But in a program I’m in through CAS, they recently brought someone in who volunteers at an educating group to specifically give a presentation on how to network and relationship-build. The speaker had a whole-ass PowerPoint and an exact science on how to finesse this way of life. We talked about analyzing our strengths and weaknesses, emailing people, and having intentions in conversations. At the end of it, I couldn’t tell if I was grateful or even more nervous because I realized that I hadn’t done shit with my connections and the people I know. I always feel like I’m comparing myself to other students when it comes to finding a job, an internship, knowing someone, and that general “Grind Culture.”
The speaker also instructed us to get business cards, because I, a 19-year-old child with so many qualifications, need one. At the end of the presentation, it was finally brought to my attention that NYU actually has a lot of resources for networking.
It’s okay not to have a million professional relationships (although, yes, having those fire ass connections can help). Your post-university job hustle depends on many things, not just networking. But since NYU doesn’t offer a class specifically on making and maintaining those connections, here are a few tips:
- Actually go to the Wasserman Center; crazy right? A revolutionary idea.
- Hit up alumni relations; they are constantly hosting different alumni events within departments. You can also set-up a dinner with an alumnus. You’re paying way too much money not to suckle every single thing NYU has to offer.
- Get a good picture (and other things) on your LinkedIn; an Instagram profile picture isn’t always good enough.
- Check out the Networking page for your respective school.
- Don’t freak out about making a bunch of professional relationships with people. It’s going to be okay! You have been building relationships with people since you were a kid; you got this.