Networking is quite possibly one of the most important skills you can have as a young professional. Today, websites like LinkedIn have made networking even easier by quantifying the amount of people in your network and making contact with those people easier. Even though these sites can be great tools, it is just as important to attend networking events and expand your network by meeting people in person.
When I was in college, I was heavily involved with the student-run Activities Programming Board. When planning and executing over thirty events every semester, the well of ideas frequently ran dry, even between me and the four other teammates on the board. To combat this, we attended a yearly regional conference in Buffalo, New York, where we had opportunities to attend educational sessions hosted by student affairs professionals. These sessions covered a wide range of topics, such as marketing, recruitment techniques, and organizational skills. In addition to these sessions, we also had plenty of opportunities to network with entertainers, service providers, and other students who were involved in similar positions. Despite the benefits that we gained from the educational sessions, we found that networking with students from other schools was just as beneficial. At the after-hours networking events, we could share ideas with schools of a similar size (we had a total of 1,500 undergrads on campus), but we also found it beneficial to talk to students from larger schools to see if their methods were similar or different. Even if another school’s campus culture was drastically different from ours, we could adapt certain strategies from other schools and make them our own. Likewise, other schools could learn about our methods for planning and executing events and adapt them for their personal use.
Outside of college, networking opportunities like this become increasingly rarer. That is why the Chamber of Commerce hosts YPG events that give young professionals the opportunity to meet and network with other people from different fields and disciplines. Meeting people who work in different industries will help to discover new ideas and stay motivated. The YPG provides excellent opportunities for young professionals to meet new people, build skills, and even find new opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community. Opportunities to build your resumé become increasingly rare after college, and joining a YPG group is the perfect way to get stay inspired.