Why is maintaining professional relationships important?
- Maintaining professional relationships are important because people within your network can introduce you to potential careers, business partners, and ideas.
- These relationships can help you when you are applying for jobs as they can serve as references and if applying to professional schools, they can write you a letter of recommendation.
- Having good relationships with your professor or co-workers will also build a safe environment for learning and teamwork to accomplish goals.
- Maintaining professional relationships can lead to mentorships and life-long friendships that will help you grow personally and professionally.
Ways to maintain these professional relationships?
- Find time: make appointments with the person to spend quality time getting to know them and let them know of your interests.
- Quality over quantity: short coffee breaks with the person may not serve as well as longer appointments over lunch or outside of work or the classroom such as drop in hours.
- Be genuine: Don’t be afraid of asking or talking about subjects you’re not sure about to see what the person adds. This is also a good way to see if the professional aligns with your mindset, goals, or has your best interest in mind. Or if they challenge you to think about the subject matter in a different way/perspective, or if they provide resources for you to better your knowledge about the subject you’re not sure about.
- Check-In: If you no longer work with or attend the class of the professional, take some time to write a check in email or letter to the person to update them about yourself and inquire about how they are doing. This allows you to maintain relationships and be informed of most recent/up to date contact information of each other.
What is volunteering?
- Volunteering is the act of freely offering to do something
Why is it important?
- It’s important to volunteer since it can provide many benefits such as improving mental and physical health and building your resume and experiences.
- You will be able to build a social network and professional relationships.
- You can build on your skills of connecting to people and making relationships.
- Volunteering can make you more confident. It can make you feel more purposeful and meaningful to accomplishing something towards a mission/goal.
- Volunteering can help you gain insight to particular organizations and how you can support/give back to your community.
How to volunteer?
- Narrow down specific volunteer activities you want to participate in. For example, cleaning up the environment? Feeding vulnerable populations?
- Identify populations you want to work with, certain age? Certain ethnic, socioeconomic, or gender communities?
- Start by checking out local organizations you are interested in supporting.
- Look at your college resources, organizations, programs, and opportunities.
- Some colleges have organizations and programs that will pair you up to volunteer for a cause. Some colleges will provide specific links to databases that have volunteering opportunities monthly.
What is research?
- Research is to search, investigate, or examine, and collection of information.
- Doing research in college will sometimes be required for different majors and careers.
Why is research important?
- It’s important to conduct research and participate in it during college because it will build skills necessary for your career and future such as intellectual curiosity, maturity, problem solving, and creativity.
- Doing research builds your professional identity, connects you with the discipline, and increases confidence and intercultural competence.
- It can help build your experiences and resume, for example, if you’re planning to apply or continue with more schooling, research can give you an edge or advantage over other applicants.
- Research with professors or in a team can help you network and connect with professionals, build mentorship, and relationships for references and letters of recommendations.
How can I participate in conducting research?
- Start by narrowing down and identifying topics or subjects that interest you to learn more about.
- Ask professors you know about how to get involved in their research or other research similar to theirs.
- Seek out programs or resources at your campus that hosts or provide research unique or entry level opportunities. Once you get your foot into a research opportunity, it’ll be easier to get more research opportunities and experiences down the line.
What are student organizations?
- Student organizations are similar to clubs in high school, they focus on a particular mission and have a vision for the students who are participating in it. The difference is that it is led and organized mainly by students.
- There are literally hundreds and thousands of different student organizations across the U.S. and the variety is large, ranging anything from dance to chess to volunteering and more.
Why is it important to participate in student organizations?
- Being in student organizations can build community and a sense of belonging to the campus.
- Student organizations will allow you have different social experiences and growth
- Build leadership skills
- Network with students from different disciplines
- Being involved in student organizations can give you a sense of purpose and let you delve more into non-academic interests or supplement your academic interests.
How can you get involved in student organizations?
- Start by looking at your college’s resources and events that lists and showcases students organizations.
What is networking?
- Networking is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “The action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts”. (https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/networking)
Why is it important to network?
- Exchange of ideas, interests, and networks/connections
- Keeps you updated with information about a career field
- Builds social and communication skills and increases confidence
How can you network?
- Look in your local area/community for networking events
- Look at your college resources, centers, programs, and student organizations that are hosting networking events
What are conferences?
- Defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a conference is “a meeting of two or more persons for discussing matters of common concern” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conference
- There are a variety of conferences. Some are academic, social, political, etc. Some are large conferences that invite hundreds and thousands of guests and can span over a few days.
- Conferences usually are structured for learning or discussion of topics or issues being addressed.
- Some conferences will invite guest speakers and performances related to the topic of interest.
- Conferences can be free or expensive depending on travel, fees, and lodging.
- Conferences can be local, state-wide, national, and international.
- Conferences can be in-person or virtual as well.
Why is it important to attend conferences?
- Expand network and opportunity to network
- Learn updated and more specific information about topics/subjects
- Gain inspiration and more passion the topic/issues
- Learn academic research that is being conducted about the topic/issue
How can I attend conferences?
- Look in your local area/community for conference events
- Search online for conferences in the subject area
- Look at your college resources, centers, programs, and student organizations that are hosting conference events
- You can participate in conferences as a speaker or presenter as well.