Undergraduate networking

Tonight I attended the kickoff for the Madison Social Media Club. A good, sweaty time was had by all on the second floor of Brocach’s (200? people showed and we quickly got very close – literally). It was awesome getting to meet some of Madison’s best and brightest in person, and I was lucky to have my friend Peter by my side so we could network together.

James Moreau asked us an interesting question: What’s it like being a college student at a networking event with primarily adult professionals? We received mixed reception each time people asked us what we did and we answered that we’re J-School students at UW. Sometimes people would take that as a cue to dispense career advice, and others got more introspective and asked us about our post-grad plans and aspirations.

James told us, in his experience, it’s better emphasize freelancing, or the professional position you hold while going to school, as opposed to just the student part. Letting people know that there’s more to your identity than being a student is a good thing. It says that you’re able to multitask, you have a variety of interests, and you can time manage.

I also got a chance to meet another UW student, Zack, who interns for Brazen Careerist. We talked about being two of very few students in a perfect setting to meet professionals from the area. It was an awesome opportunity to talk with potential employers in a social environment, where we could be ourselves and share our ideas without the confinements of an office setting. I’m sure more students will begin to pop up at these meeting/socials as the SMC gets more popular, but it was fun to get a look at Madison’s professional world in a less formal setting.

What are your best networking tips? If you’re part of a similar club, what’s one good ice-breaker question that works like a charm on everyone?

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