Networking is essential, don’t stop due to pandemic

Networking+concept%2C+young+male+character+connecting+together+different+members+of+the+system.

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Networking concept, young male character connecting together different members of the system.

Mikayla Magdziarz, Columnist

For a fast pass to opportunities whether personal or career oriented, it’s all about connections and who you know. Networking is an essential tool that helps ambitious individuals build professional relationships which can open doors for business and career moves to transpire. 

Networking hasn’t been easy, especially for college students and young professionals who are entering their career fields. It has been difficult to continue both business and creative endeavors throughout the past year with adherence to social distancing guidelines and the economic and financial impacts of the pandemic. 

However, the pandemic barrier isn’t an excuse to stop networking. Opportunities leading to one’s aspirations are still out there. 

Companies are now more willing to cast their nets back out and reel in new graduates. According to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are projected to hire 7.2% more recent college graduates than they hired in 2020. 

Ironically enough, there are even new job opportunities that wouldn’t exist without the pandemic. I accepted a summer position as a COVID-19 health and safety production assistant. A job I found via Facebook groups, an easily accessible tool for networking.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an obstacle taking on many forms, but one thing it cannot get in the way of is one’s own will to connect with other people.

Networking is an essential career management skill for students to acquire as early as possible and to hone as a skill throughout their entire time as a student, and beyond,” said Cathy Doederlein, director of Career Services at NIU, via email. 

It is easier to network face-to-face. Doederlein said even though many in-person networking opportunities have been reduced or eliminated due to the pandemic, online networking options are still available.

“Students are encouraged to visit the COVID-19 resources webpage at Career Services and to schedule individual appointments with career advisors, who can assist them with individualized strategies for building their networks,” Doederlein said via email. 

After learning remotely for two semesters, my goal for Fall 2021 is to network on campus and build relationships with students and faculty. Networking can also lead to collaboration, an act that has been increasingly difficult to do this past year due to social distancing guidelines and lack of interaction. 

As a media studies major with an interest in field production, building a solid team with other classmates is what I intend to achieve through networking on campus.