The most successful college students are the ones who go above and beyond their peers in pursuit of their goals. Think about it: Every quarter of every year, dozens of students graduate from Western Washington University with the exact same degree. And that doesn’t even take into account the hundreds of students flooding the job market from other universities in the Pacific Northwest. Then, in three or four months, the entire cycle starts again.

What sets one student apart from another? How do Bellingham and Whatcom County businesses decide whom to hire?

One way that college students can set yourselves apart is through networking – through meeting business leaders in person and engaging in conversations about the work they do and about your emerging skills.

You’ve probably heard the adage that what you know gets you into the room, but who you know gets you a seat at the table. At Whatcom Business Alliance, we’ve created individual memberships for this purpose. No longer do college students like you – or any person, for that matter – need to join WBA as part of an established business; for $100 you can join as an individual and experience many of the benefits of professional networking in Whatcom County.

As an individual member of WBA, you’ll get a free subscription to Business Pulse magazine and receive the monthly WBA eNews, too. Both of these publications will help students dial into the local business scene. Plus, reading these publications will provide topics of conversation and points of reference during networking situations.

You also will gain access to the online WBA Member Center and Membership Directory, and you’ll be invited to members-only WBA events for personal growth and networking opportunities.

For university students and recent college graduates who want to connect with the movers and shakers of the Whatcom County business community, there’s no better place to start than through the WBA. Membership is an annual investment of just $100 — less than $10 per month — that can pay enormous dividends in your career.

Networking provides benefits in ways we can’t predict, from landing job interviews or business deals to creating lifelong peer and mentorship relationships. And given the way networks operate, one new relationship can lead to many more through an ever-expanding web of contacts.

And here’s the other thing about networking: It’s a two-way street. While WBA provides ample opportunities for college students to network with others, we also want to learn from YOU. Business leaders in Bellingham and throughout Whatcom County have a lot to gain from listening to new and novel ideas that college students and other young minds bring to the table.

We would love to have you join us here at the Whatcom Business Alliance! Grab your individual membership, and we’ll see you soon!