The Power of Networking: A WWU Marketing Student’s Tricks to Networking

Three men smiling and laughing at a computer screen

Written By: Eric Cuamacateco

Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Well actually, it’s a little bit of both! For those individuals who are uncomfortable with speaking to strangers, networking can be a challenging task. Whether you are looking for a mentor, job or friend, networking is a great skill to have in your toolbox. 

What is Networking

Networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or interest, usually in an informal social setting. Networking is building a connection with another individual. 

Networking is used by professionals to expand their circles of connections, to find out about job opportunities, and increase their awareness of trends in their field. Networking does not only have to occur in the professional world.

Many students network in their classes without even knowing it. At the start of each quarter, I try to make at least one “friend” in each of my classes. Why?  For me(opens in new window), having this “friend” helps me feel comfortable in the class. They keep me updated on homework, due dates and help with studying. In short, the purpose of networking is to form relationships with those who’ll help get you to where you want to go.

The Benefits of Networking Within WWU’s Marketing Program

Three WWU students in professional attire pose for a photo
2020 WWU SMA Case Competition Competitors

For students networking may seem like small talk. However, the connections you establish could result in finding your dream job. If you end up forming meaningful connections, you will quickly realize that those individuals are cheering for you. These connections won’t mind helping you get to where you want to go since they’ve probably been where you are right now.   

Don’t be afraid to reach out to the connections that you’ve built. They can range from former classmates, professors, or even employers. If you are looking for a job, career guidance, or internship, someone in your network will likely be willing to help you out. However, you first must have done your part to earn the trust of your network. 

Think I am making all this up? A study conducted revealed that 35% of professionals say they secured their current or most recent job through a professional connection. In other words, it pays to build strong networks. Don’t be afraid to let someone else give you a helping hand to achieve your goals. 

Simple Ways to Network in College

Networking can be such a challenging thing for those who don’t like stepping out of their comfort zones. Trust me, in the future, you'll be thanking yourself for all the effort you put into building meaningful connections. 

Get Involved on Campus

You’ll make new friends, spruce up your resume, and build a community. Western Washington University’s Marketing Program offers various opportunities for their students to build and strengthen their networks. 

Student Marketing Association logo; four arrows converging with "SMA" text below.

Start by joining the Western Washington University’s Student Marketing Association (WWU SMA(opens in new window)). WWU’s SMA provides its members with the knowledge and opportunities that will help them excel in a bright and successful future in marketing. 

WWU SMA is a great way to network, further your learning, and a great thing to add to your resume and LinkedIn. Being on the I-5 corridor between Seattle and Vancouver, Bellingham has access to two incredible cities when it comes to networking. WWU SMA brings guest speakers from companies such as: 

Members have a chance to chat and make connections with the speaker of each company!

Ok, I admit it, I might be biased towards WWU SMA since I am on the Leadership Team(opens in new window). However, in my time with the organization, I have learned so much from building my resume(opens in new window), integrating my personal brand into my everyday life, to connecting with Marketing professionals. 

I have a goal to work for Nike at the corporate level as a Branding Specialist. Through WWU SMA, I got the opportunity to meet Brian Haug(opens in new window), who is currently working for Nike corporate. Even though he’s not working as a Branding Specialist, he is still willing to help me achieve my goal. Networking and building relationships help pave your path to success.   

Open the Path Towards Success

If you are new to the program, join WWU SMA(opens in new window)! You may ask yourself how? There are weekly meetings held on Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 7:30 PM via Zoom.  

The Zoom link is posted on WWU SMA’s website(opens in new window). More information regarding the meetings can be found on their Instagram(opens in new window)LinkedIn(opens in new window), and Facebook(opens in new window) pages. Don’t forget to also sign up for the weekly newsletters(opens in new window).  

In the past, was fees associated with membership, however, there shouldn’t be any barriers to professional development and ability to network and learn from experienced marketers. That means membership is FREE! 

Networking might not be at the forefront of your mind right now, but it’s a crucial tool to add to your toolbox. I encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you by the WWU Marketing Program!  

Maybe you got a few years of experience under your Marketing belt sign up for the SMA Case Competition(opens in new window) and test those skills! Whatever it is I hope you start growing your network and building those meaningful relationships.