Is your net working?
Think about fishing with a net. You throw out the net and capture all kinds of things. Some useful, some are not. Some you don’t even recognize as useful, but could be if you thought differently about what you caught.
Building a professional network is like fishing. You build relationships with everyone you meet, never knowing when those relationships will become important. Some you will recognize as important right away, such as a science professor, instructor, or supervisor. Some you may not consider, such as the parent of a friend, a guest speaker in a class, or your own healthcare provider. Your own classmates will become part of your network as you enter the professional work world.
Networking is a science and an art. Building relationships that will help you become more connected at the same time allowing you to contribute to the growth of other people’s network.
A professional network begins by recognizing that we are successful because we need and respect the contributions of others to our success. Networking should be reciprocal, but that does not mean you cannot form a professional relationship with someone who has far more experience than you. Recognize that as you grow in your professional capacity, you will have something to offer others in your network.
As a student, you are beginning your network when you form relationships with other students as well as faculty and supervisors. Remember that a network will only be as strong as your reputation. If you treat others with respect, and nurture a positive relationship, it will add to your growing network. Keep in mind your reputation is something you build. If you build a strong reputation it will be the foundation for your future success.