By Skylar Benninghoff, Career Community Ambassador
Networking can seem like an elaborate task only professionals at conferences can do. But actually, you can network day to day. Think about all the people you see in a day: a cashier, barista, professor, student, boss, coworkers, family, friends, and more. All these people can be great opportunities for networking.
During your morning coffee
Say you go to the same Starbucks or Dunkin by your house or by campus. I am sure you are bound to see the same barista or cashier there at least once a week. Get to know them and genuinely ask how they are doing to spark conversation. As the days and weeks progress, you may have a new friend and/or an industry insight into their aspirations or their barista life.
Similarly, chat to someone in line. Of course, not everyone is interested, especially on Monday mornings, but when the opportunity arises, take it. If you are at the Dunkin under the el, you know everyone in line is probably going or coming from class, ask what their major is or if they have any cool jobs. These are all forms of networking as you are expanding the people you know and perhaps gaining insight into the positions and work others do.
During your classes
A great professor of mine always said, get to know the person in front of you, back of you and on both sides. You have the commonality of being in the same class therefore everything else you can discuss is possible future employment, current employment, and figuring out skills necessary for what you want to do.
Just remember: Networking is not about talking to someone for the sole purpose of getting a job. Of course, that is ideal, and some interactions can be that way but generally, use networking as a way to expand your knowledge of specific industries and gain experiences you may never have received if you hadn’t turned around in class or talked to that barista.