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Everyone knows networking is a big deal in career development, but not everyone knows how to go about it. The good news is that it doesn't have to be difficult or awkward.
Joining a professional association is an easy way to meet people in your desired field. Professional associations are groups of people who come together regularly for professional development activities, networking and sharing information. You can join an industry-specific group (e.g., a Human Resources student joining the Society for Human Resource Management) or a more general group with people from a variety of professional backgrounds (e.g., St. Paul Rotary Club). You can often join for a drastically discounted student rate. Ask your professors for recommendations or do a simple online search for your field's professional organizations.
You can find a number of national, regional and local groups for just about every field. But simply joining won't build your network. By attending events, conferences, volunteering for committees and engaging in online discussions, you'll be putting yourself out there and setting yourself up for opportunities to meet the right person at the right time.
There are over 40 student organizations at Metropolitan State University. Student organizations are a fun way to get involved on campus, meet other students and develop your leadership skills. Many of the organizations bring in guest speakers from the community - this is another easy way to network.
Check out OrgSync to learn about the many different groups Metropolitan State has to offer.
Another way to network on campus is to attend the various programs and events university departments have to offer. It's important to remember that going to an event is just the first step to networking. Once you're there, talk with the other attendees and introduce yourself to any guest speakers or community members that might be in attendance.
LinkedIn groups can connect you with professionals working in your field. Groups allow you to discuss professional topics, trends, and share information about common interests. Make the most out of a group membership: explore latest articles, start a discussion, check out the content on the Jobs and Promotions tabs, or send a message to a member to reach out to them.