Archived: Build your professional networks

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 If you’ll be graduating soon, or even if you’re just starting to think about your spring and summer employment opportunities, now is a great time to start thinking about building, nurturing, and maintaining your professional networks.

So… update my LinkedIn profile?
Well, that – and more! Networking is about creating long-term relationships with friends and acquaintances who have similar professional interests or experiences. Your current network may include family, friends (and family of friends!), club members, volunteer coordinators, fellow volunteers, coworkers, instructors, and classmates.

But I’m not looking for a job right now.
Your professional network is a long-term investment, it isn’t just about finding a job right now, but also aiding your long-term career goals. It also can help you learn new things even after you leave MRU, get recognition for your achievements, increase your self-confidence, and can provide support and enjoyment in an area you’re passionate about!

I don’t know anyone in my area of interest yet!
There are plenty of ways to get to know people in areas you’re interested in. The MRU students who volunteer with you in one of SAMRU’s Service Centres for instance can be great members of your network – especially if you’re volunteering in an area that also relates to your future professional goals.

Opportunities like volunteering are informal ways of building your network, and there are more formal ones as well. Your department or SAMRU student club may inform you about or offer formal networking events or activities where you can connect with others in your field. These could include social meet-and-greet events, or more structured events like trade shows and conferences.

If there is someone you’d like to meet, you can also arrange personal networking opportunities – though you might need someone in your existing network to help make an introduction. Social media can also help in this area, using sites like LinkedIn, groups on Facebook, and circles on Google Plus can help you connect with people who share your interests.

Want more information on how to connect with members of your future professional network? MRU’s Career Services has a great tip-sheet and lots of advice >> http://www.mtroyal.ca/EmploymentCareers/CareerServices/index.htm

Want to start building some informal contacts through volunteering right here on campus? Check out SAMRU volunteer opportunities >> https://samru.ca/studentopportunities/volunteer/

– By Dawn Linnemoller, Editor & Content Coordinator, SAMRU

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