Top Reasons Why You Need to Network

People using laptops and tablets to network

By Monica Chen 

Oct. 01, 2020 


Networking is the term current marketing students often hear of from professors and how important networking is to build a successful career, but it is more easily said than done. For marketing students who feel nervous about speaking to the faculty or alumni, they will avoid attending networking events because they are afraid of being judged and embarrassing themselves in front of people. They feel vulnerable when getting out of their comfort zone and they think public speaking is not for them. However, they do not need to be afraid. Alumni and faculty members are there to help students with their career by offering advice from experience and helping them get their foot-in-the-door. I was given advice on what skills I needed to work on in order to be successful in the marketing industry. Let us go through why networking is important for current marketing students, how to prepare for networking events, and touch on one specific event that will help current marketing students like me get a start on our careers and getting a foot-in-the-door.  

Why Network? 

Networking is about getting to know people by speaking to them and establishing meaningful relationships that will help broaden your perspective of the marketing world. The more people you know, the bigger the chance that you may be recommended for a job. Considering that 70% of jobs are found through personal relationships(opens in new window), networking is a way to develop your professional career and navigate towards a path you are interested in. Networking does not come naturally for some; it is a complex skill that requires practice. With the current pandemic in place, in-person networking events are not yet possible. However, you still have the option of attending virtual networking events and connecting with people online via LinkedIn and other social media platforms. By networking with other people, professionals will notice you and see your talents and capabilities. When people start to notice you, new opportunities will open for you. Meeting people who are higher-level than you could serve as a stepping stone in your career. Networks foster a trade of ideas between people that helps sustain long-term relationships and mutual trust(opens in new window)

Networking via LinkedIn 

If you are considering networking with people online via LinkedIn, do some(opens in new window) research(opens in new window) on the people you want to connect with such as looking at their LinkedIn profile. If there are mutual connections, they can help by introducing you to that person. If not, consider getting the conversation started by looking at the content they have posted and leaving a comment. When you do send an invitation to connect, remember to include a custom message(opens in new window) that introduces who you are and provides options to connect further. Keep in mind to maintain existing connections, instead of just making new ones, by following up periodically. Make sure to be helpful to others(opens in new window) rather than only being on the receiving side to ensure both parties are getting an equal benefit from the relationship.  

Virtual Networking Tips 

Before attending a virtual networking event, ask yourself, “who do I want to meet, and why?” It is the same protocol as connecting with people via LinkedIn: do your research. By doing research, you can make effective connections rather than just doing small talk and being a familiar face to others. Advice that I got before connecting with people was to not ask them for a job right away. If you ask a person you barely know to offer a job to you, they are not likely to speak to you anymore and might interpret your actions as being rude. Prepare thoughtful questions(opens in new window) that you want to ask the person, but do not ask too much of someone(opens in new window) that might seem like you are using that person.   

Meet the Professionals 

Once you are comfortable with doing research on people you want to connect beforehand and asking questions to establish meaningful connections, there is one event that current marketing students should consider participating in: Meet the Professionals. The professionals are faculty and alumni who are there to socialize with students and answer any questions they may have. For marketing students like me, it may help us get a start on and further develop our careers. Seize the opportunity to expand your network and establish credibility. Due to the pandemic, the Meet the Professionals event is planned to be held virtually. A panel may be created to allow students to network with the professionals.

A laptop displays a video call with 20 participants


The Meet the Professionals event is beneficial to current marketing students like me because it helps build the path to our careers and opens doors of opportunities for us in the future that will help us become successful.  

  1. Do not wait until you are desperate to network with people; it takes time to practice networking and maintaining a meaningful connection.  

  1. For people who are socially anxious and are afraid of attending networking events, do not place the blame on yourself for being frustrated that you cannot bring yourself to speak to strangers. The main reason why I am writing this blog is to inform you that college is all about finding your identity and experimenting with lots of things to see what works for you.  

  1. If you do not like to do something, do not force yourself. You do not have to change who you are, and people like you just the way you are. 

  1. It takes little baby steps to come out of our comfort zone and we have plenty of time to do so. At the event, I met many professionals and got to learn more about what they do; if I am interested, I know what that job’s responsibilities are.  

  1. For those who want to try coming out of their comfort zone and learning more about the industry, here are some potential suggestions for you. Create a LinkedIn profile if you have not done so and include a photo of yourself for job recruiters to see. This will leave a good first impression.  

Follow the protocol mentioned previously about networking via LinkedIn and look for virtual networking events you might be interested in attending. You will benefit from networking with others by learning a lot about them and, most importantly, yourself.