With career fairs and interviews just around the corner, most students are contemplating various companies of interest as well as what they need to do to land a position. An important, but underrated topic related to landing an internship and pursuing success, is networking. Students are often told, “You need to network!” however what does that actually entail? Networking is essentially the idea that if you build and maintain relationships, you will gain insight, mentors, or open up opportunities for the future. Networking is a big reason why it is important to get involved as soon as possible, thus yes sophomores and even freshman, it is absolutely worthwhile to attend campus events and career fairs. If you attend events, career fairs, and interviews you make connections and from those connections you build relationships and gain insight. You also learn more about the actuarial career, various companies, others experiences, and gain advice along the way. By engaging in these opportunities you ensure better knowledge and possibly even being remembered by recruiters in the future. However, something to keep in mind is that networking is not only talking with companies at career fairs, networking can mean getting to know your professors or peers better as well.
Even if you understand the importance of networking, how do you go about doing so? The best advice is to get involved. Take part in any opportunities that are presented, and participate while in attendance. During career fairs, prepare ahead of time with questions and research about companies, and then when you talk to the companies you not only will get more out of the conversation but also make a good impression. When researching, make sure you look for relevant facts and history about the company such as products they specialize in, current events about the company’s success or business prospects, and knowledge about the field the company is in. You are also networking by attending your professors’ office hours, making friends in your classes and attending events such as the Midwest Actuarial Student Conference. Each of these networking opportunities allows you to get to know others, learn about other people’s experiences with actuarial science, internships, careers, and even exam study habits.
Once you have made quality connections with others, another part of successful networking is to follow up and maintain relationships. Whether it is companies, professors, or peers; staying in touch is key. This includes sending follow up thank you emails after interviews, talking to your professors and participating in class, and continuing friendships you make with peers as well. What better way to get ahead with your education and career than by continually talking to and learning from others!
Everyone should take advantage of the endless benefits of networking and getting involved. Thus, attend that event, go to a career fair, and be proactive in your career and education, and remember that networking is a positive habit that could set you apart. As you begin your actuarial career and begin internship and job interviews this fall, look out for networking opportunities, it could truly make a difference in your future success.