Reflecting back on the last four years of my college career, there is not much I would change. However, something I wish that I had done more is attending networking events. One thing that is great about the internship program in the Communication Studies department at Canisius is that the students are pushed to partake in activities such as attending a networking event and conducting informational interviews, polishing up our resumes and cover letters and even writing for this blog. Each of these assignments have held so much importance in preparing us for graduation and getting into the “adult” work world. Networking is easily one of the most important tasks we have had to do. This is something prior to getting an internship that I had never thought about. I didn’t realize how important it was. Now that I am just a few short weeks away from graduation, I am so glad that I learned how important it is to build a network and attend these events.
Throughout the year, there are a number of networking events right on campus. The event that I attended was “Building Powerful Partnerships,” a women’s networking event held by the Canisius Women’s Leadership Panel. This was a great event that gave students a chance to meet and seek advice from women who were alumni of Canisius. It was great to meet with women who have attending Canisius not only because they understand how valuable this school is, but to also see how successful these Canisius graduates have become.
The event was set up almost like a speed dating event. There were tables arranged in the form of a rectangle. The Alumnae sat on the inside of the rectangle while students moved around freely on the outside. Students were able to move from table to table to speak briefly to each professional. There was a bell that rang each time the five minute period was up and it was time to move on to the next person. What was nice about this event was that there was a range people of different professions there. The first professional I spoke to was an attorney. As a Communication Studies major with an interest in marketing, I wasn’t sure how much help I could get from her. I was very wrong. She helped me immensely. She asked what some of my interests were and where my internships were. The advice she gave me was something I had not really thought of yet. She told me to think of what type of place I wanted to work in. Did I see myself in a large office with hundreds of people? Or smaller offices like the ones I have had my internships at? This is something that I had not really thought about, but was really glad to be asked because I need to figure out what work environment I want to work in while I’m searching for a job. Besides this, I was advised by other women with things I found very important and very helpful. For instance, not to go into public relations if I did not enjoy writing. There is a myth that PR consists of a lot of event planning, but that is not the case. I have had an interest in PR, so this was something I was glad to find out at this event rather than find out if I had gotten a job in the profession.
The best part about this event was that it had an emphasis on mentoring. We were introduced to Canisius Connect, which is basically a LinkedIn type of website but specific to people in the Canisius Community: students, alumni and faculty. It was easy to see that all of these women really did want to help us and were willing to mentor us. I was happy to get the business cards from several of these women as I know these are professional connections I can reach out to for advice as I search for a job and get into a new career. Networking is such an important thing that students need to do, yet it does not seem like many realize the importance of it. I am happy that I was able to learn the importance of it and I plan to try to continue to build my network throughout my professional career.