By Shirleena Baggett |Staff Writer|
I believe we are all in school for one thing: to graduate.
But what about life after our grandiose commencement ceremonies and paper certifications?
I will be the first to admit that I am not prepared for the “the real world,” and I do not think obtaining a degree is all that I need.
We have all heard it before—it is not what you know, but who you know.
It would be lovely to be able to believe that all of our student loans, late night cram sessions and last minute early morning attempts to finish research papers would guarantee us our dream careers, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
We must network if we want to be successful—plain and simple.
“Network, and network with a purpose,” said CSUSB Career Counselor Damion Donaldson.
Through the right contacts, you gain access to careers, professional development, mentorship and most importantly, building social capitol.
To be effective means taking advantage of these opportunities.
There is not one concrete definition of social capitol, but according to Co-Director, Voices of NY Editor Karen Pennar, it is, “the web of social relationships that influences individual behavior and thereby affects economic growth.”
It is within these interactions and relationships that we can change our lives and actually obtain what we say we want.
Connecting plugs you into your interests and gets you around the right people that you need to know. It also accelerates your personal brand to sustain long-term success in our ever-changing world. It has been said that the quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.
Looking at this idea from the career perspective, not having any associations will leave your resume in the pile of the interviewer’s desk with all the other resumes that look exactly like yours.
“I believe networking is important in the competitive job market because it is the key to securing your position,” said Career Center Student Assistant Muhammad Khan.
Employers now are not just interested in what you look like on paper, but also want to know if they can trust you and your job performance.
Being able to have recommendations and referrals will more than likely guarantee you your desired position.
To get started is actually easier than we think. You can start by volunteering at professional organizations not just on the college level—for volunteering leads to internships, and internships lead to not only jobs, but also careers.
You can also ask your professors how they got started and what organizations they belong to.
Most importantly, I would utilize the Career Center and all of its resources.
The Career Center provides career readiness by offering advising, job fairs, workshops, and of course employer networking opportunities. As students, whose enrolled university days are numbered, it is time we take this seriously and start networking not now, but right now.
Remember, it is not what you know, but who you know.