For students and faculty at the Center of Student Opportunity, networking frequently sparks important connections on Alma’s campus. The workers at the CSO work year-round helping students establish contacts to aid future career opportunities.
The significance of networking is for students on campus to establish personal relationships for future career openings. Students successful in creating important connections have the chance to secure jobs and internships.
“Creating relationships on campus can help secure a job position down the road. The important part of networking is being social,” said Evyn Bryant (’19).
According to Director of Career Coaching Maria Jones, networking broadens a student’s chances of career opportunities they need to be successful and the earlier a student gets involved in networking, the better chance they’ll have at receiving future connections.
“Networking is based around the idea of building relationships and securing job opportunities. Many professionals see networking as a way to establish a path for jobs and internships. This would be the best goal of a successful network,” said Jones.
Finding career opportunities is one way that networking asserts itself in the contacts formed by students. Student communication is especially important when meeting potential career aids. The faculty at the CSO helps students along the way.
“When I talk to Juniors and Seniors broadening their potential network before they graduate, I tell them that communication is important. The goal for these students should be networking earlier in their academic career,” said Jones.
Establishing connections is as easy as sparking a conversation. “Starting a network can initiate by chatting to faculty, guest speakers and friends on campus,” said Jones. “When graduation comes and a student whose built a network over the years needs a job, they’ll have that opportunity to receive a position because of the long-term relationship that was established.”
The goal of the CSO is to help students understand how to network, how to get started and how to make a compelling introduction. Reaching out to potential employers will establish a possible network. “Networking can happen at a formal event and a nonformal event. Career week is a perfect opportunity to establish connections with a potential guest speaker,” said Jones.
Annually, Alma College holds a job fair in September and provides the perfect space for the development of networking on campus. During this time, employers arrive on campus looking to make connections with students.
Jones mentioned that there would be a second job fair in the upcoming winter semester on February 15 for students seeking to network. Other opportunities will present themselves throughout the year at career services, open career panels and guest speaker events.
“At the CSO, we want to break the myth that career week only helps businesses. We want to bring a wide variety of opportunities to students on campus from different areas of professions,” said Jones.