5 Easy Ways to Network While at University | Top Universities

5 Easy Ways to Network While at University

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Chloe Lane

Updated Mar 08, 2021



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That old saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is still very relevant today (although, obviously, it does also matter what you know). Throughout time, networking has, and most likely always will be, an extremely important way of finding and enhancing your career – and hey, it’s always nice to have a few extra friends as well.

Networking is a great way to gain valuable advice, find out about new opportunities that you otherwise may not have known about, and above all find out more about careers that interest you.  However, the way we network has changed a lot over the past decade, with social media and the internet becoming such a prominent part of our everyday lives.

University is a great time to start building a strong network of individuals that can help you with your future career path. Read on to find out some great ways to network that you may not have thought about before, which will also help boost student employability.

1. Get to know your lecturers a bit better

Getting to know lecturers

Although this might not feel like a very typical way to network, and honestly you’d rather just go home after lectures, taking the time to talk more to your lecturers might help you more than you’d think. Lecturers are pretty much pools of human knowledge, and it would be silly to not pick their brain while you have the chance.

Not only will they be able to give you extra tips on how to ace your module, but they may be able to give you some valuable advice on careers and ways to boost student employability. You may even be able to put them down as a reference when applying for jobs in the future, so lecturers are good people to have on your side.

2. Use social media (but not for scrolling through your ex’s pictures)

Social Media

Social media can be an excellent way to procrastinate. It can also be a great way to reach out and connect with people you don’t know very well. Sites like LinkedIn are good for expanding your network, so it’s important to keep your page updated and be active on it (by liking and commenting on other people’s posts etc.)

LinkedIn is a great addition to modern networking, as it gives you access to an abundance of online CVs, from people who have just started out, to CEOs of major companies. This is a great way to see the steps that professional individuals have taken to get where they are now. You also have the opportunity to direct message people individually – so take advantage of this! The worst thing that can coming from sending someone a polite message asking for advice is that they won’t reply, but if they do, you may end up finding a brilliant opportunity.

LinkedIn also has a Career Advice tool, where you can ask questions and professionals in that field will answer you directly, and give you advice. You should also use LinkedIn to follow companies that interest you, as this will keep you updated with firstly, what the company is doing and secondly, any jobs that become available.

Facebook and Twitter can also be useful ways to network. Your university and school may have an alumni group, which is an excellent way to make contacts. Alumni will often post about job positions available, and if you feel like you’d be good for the role, you can reach out to the poster to ask for more details. Contrastingly if an alumnus is in an industry you would like to work in, you can always reach out to them and ask questions – nine times out of 10, they would be happy to talk to you!

3. Attend networking events


Companies such as Eventbrite provide details of business networking events near you in the industry of your choice. Companies will also have their own individual networking events, which they will most likely advertise on their social media pages, so make sure you follow them to stay up to date on when are where these are.

Before going to a company networking event be sure to know what you want to get out of it, what questions you want to ask, and be sure to take notes of the names of the people you talk to. Drop people an email afterwards saying you enjoyed meeting them and that you hope they stay in touch.

4. Reach out to your existing network

Reach out to your existing network

Reaching out to your existing network can be a great way of building networking into your everyday routine. Get to know the people around you – you never know when they might be able to help you out in the future.

Get involved on campus, whether it’s through a part time job, a society or volunteering. This is a great way to meet new people, as well as getting an extra something to put on your CV. After all, even Oprah started out as a grocery shop clerk!

5. Use your university’s careers center

University careers center

Your university’s careers center is there to help improve student employability, so make sure you use this to your advantage. They will help you improve your CV and explore different ways to help you improve your job prospects, such as helping you get internships and telling you about upcoming job fairs. They may even be able to put you in contact with university alumni who you can talk to about the role you want to get into.

Some universities will have large companies hosting network events inside your university, and your university careers center will be able to inform you of these events, as well as any other careers events that are havening around the university. Definitely worth a visit!

Other networking tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move - the phrase ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’ is very true, as it’s very rare that an opportunity just presents itself out of nowhere; you have to make things happen.
  • Remember people’s names – remembering someone’s name when you’ve only spoken to them once before will show that you’ve really been listening to them.
  • Make sure your social media is up to date and professional – Keep it professional for all those contacts you’re going to add!
  • Make sure you follow up with a thank you email – it shows a level of professionalism but also people are more likely to remember you.


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