Opinion: Networking now can open endless possibilities later on

Involvement through clubs and networking gives students a much-needed edge

Involvement is crucial to college students' overall success, as a degree is simply no longer enough to make it in the real world. The resources students have access to in college may play a critical role once they enter the workforce.

ASU provides access to multiple resources that many students do not take advantage of, such as experienced mentors, internships and over a thousand on-campus clubs and organizations.

Joining a variety of clubs and meeting new people can help students develop new skill sets, become more sociable, improve networking skills, become more collaborative thinkers and build up their resume.

Around 20.4 million students were anticipated to attend an American college or university in the fall of 2017, so it is understandable for college students to feel overwhelmed as competition in the workforce increases.

Surrounded in a classroom full of future competitors, students may shy away from networking with their peers, seeking only professionals in their industry of choice. However, that should not be the case. Peer networking could be just as valuable as professional networking in the long run.

“Students who are involved are much more successful," said Kevin Correa, the director of the First-Year Success Center at ASU. “They have better graduation rates, they’re happier, they enjoy the university experience more, and they’re going to be more successful after college.”

There are countless career and success services that help prep ASU students to apply for internships and professional programs, among other career-building endeavors. 

“It’s the difference between necessary and sufficient,” Correa said. “The college degree needs to be paired with really good experience, whether that’s employment experience or involvement experience to really help students get an edge when they are applying for competitive positions.”

Higher level networking is essential to success and should be treated with the strategy and intensity students approach any college-level course.  Fellow students may one day help advance your career. For many jobs, it's about who you know.

It's tempting to focus most of your attention on college classes. While this can help boost grades, it can prevent well-rounded success after college. Employers aren't just looking at GPAs – having an extensive resume will help land the job. 

Developing and maintaining relationships with professors, students and mentors in any field will result in a well-respected reputation, and possible letters of recommendation may help land a highly coveted position. 

Certain majors at ASU require internship programs for graduation, and several offer academic credit for them. It is encouraged to get involved in as many internships as possible, if only for the new professional experiences each one provides. Students should take it upon themselves to get the most out of this process and learn about what skills their future field really requires. 

Taking advantage of clubs and networking in college not only builds students' resumes but also gives them an edge professionally.

If students commit to making networking a fundamental part of their college experience, come senior year, they should have no problem walking into their chosen career field after graduation.

Reach the columnist at hncumber@asu.edu or follow @hncumber on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. Want to join the conversation? 

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