As we continue to highlight the importance of networking, first we want to ensure students understand what it means. In addition, we want to start showing students how and where they can start building their networks. Most students think it’s too soon to start networking and don’t see the value at the moment since they’re not looking for a job or starting their career. However these relationships take time to build and there are different opportunities that can come from this, including co-op or summer jobs.
Start a class discussion on networking to ensure everyone understands what it means. Use the following prompts:
What comes to mind when you think of a network?
This is very open ended and intended to get an idea of where your students are in regard to understanding “networking.” Most likely they will have a shallow understanding, which is okay.
Read the following to the class:
These days, if you hear the term “networking,” your mind may immediately jump to “social networking”—and indeed, technology tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a powerful and convenient means of developing and maintaining your personal and professional connections.
But there’s more to a network than the number of people who “friend” you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. On a deeper level, effective networking involves developing relationships with other people, sharing relevant information and resources, and providing mutual support and encouragement on the path to reaching your goals. Your network can also open doors to potential career opportunities, and may even help you land a job.
Source: Practice Your Networking Skills
Make sure to highlight that networking is a two way street. It’s not just about what others can do for you but what you can do for others!
Have students complete the Networking 101 activity where they will list out what they believe to be possible events/situations where they can build their network.
Please note: Tell the students not to submit the activity until the end of the class.
Give the students roughly 10 -15 minutes to brainstorm and complete the activity. Once they have done that, play the Networking video where he will discuss how networking opportunities are all around us and provide students with some examples of where networking can happen.
After the video, have students go back to their Networking 101 activity and add to their list.
Have students go through this document, The Power of Networking…but HAVE A PURPOSE! – This checklist is intended to help students prepare for any impromptu networking opportunity and to gain something from the experience. Ask students for their thoughts or questions about the checklist.
Additional Resources to share with students: