By: Oleg Ignatenko

During your college years, there is so much emphasis that is put on studying for that test, completing that project, and applying for that internship.  Sometimes the thing that remains very overlooked and underrated is networking.  Now, this is not a suggestion to add 50 random strangers to your social network (aka Facebook), but instead to try and find business related networking events such as the Career Expo or the Student & Alumni Career Symposium.  Networking events allow you to get more familiar with people who are already successful, those with great ideas, company managers, or people who are looking to make a difference not only in their life, but in the life of others as well.

There are many different networking events that can be attended but I will try to focus on the top 3 that would apply to the majority of college students.

Strong Contact Networking Events

This type of networking event is usually held in a professional setting where you are required to follow a business professional dress code.  Usually these are pretty difficult to gain access to, and you will need to have a good relationship with one of the representatives from the event, as many of these events permit only one individual from a certain profession to attend.  Either way, don’t forget to bring plenty of copies of your resume and a good amount of business cards.

Casual Contact Networking Events 

Casual networks are all about being relaxed and being able to communicate with representatives/managers/employees of other organizations in a comfortable and tranquil manner.  Usually these types of events allow for a few representatives of a certain profession.  They are held in order to add depth to the networking field and to introduce members of various organizations to each other to promote different ideas.  This is probably the best place for professionals to mingle and not necessarily be too focused on talking about their business or profession.

Virtual Contact Networking Events

Virtual networking has become a lot more popular in the last decade and it allows different employers and employees to be able to communicate through an online network.  This is a great way to present yourself to different professionals without having to travel to a specific location.  It is very common for these networking events to be casual and informal.  This gives most of the people communicating to feel a bit more free than during any other networking event.  Google+ is one of the main ways for these type of events to take place and has allowed for large numbers of professionals to network online simultaneously.

Networking allows you to meet people who have experience in different fields, who have developed a specific process for achieving their goals and who may also have many inspirational stories.  The bottom line is: you never know who you will meet and if there is a possibility that person might give you some valuable advice towards your professional career.  There is always a possibility that they might know someone who could point you in the right direction or introduce you to someone who is looking to hire someone with exactly the specific skill sets that you possess.  Attending these events will allow you to gain a better perspective of the networking world and will go a long way in aiding you in your search, dedication, and commitment to success.