Top 8 Career Networking Tips for College Students
BY JANE HURST
Just because you are still in school and not ready to take on that full-time career yet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start networking now. In fact, now is the best time to start meeting people in your chosen field. Getting to know the right people now is going to go a long way in helping you find employment in your field after you graduate. But, there is a lot more to networking than just meeting new people.
- Request an Informational Interview – Is there a particular professor, employer, etc. who you really admire, and whose brain you would love to pick for a little while? If so, ask them if you can meet with them for an informational interview. This can be in person, via email, or on the telephone. Find out as much as you can about what it is that they do, and what it took for them to get where they are now.
- Get to Know the Faculty – Don’t just reach out to your professors. Get to know other faculty and staff members as well. For instance, if there is a professor or other staff member in your department that you think could help you with career advice, getting an internship, etc., send them an email and ask if you can meet with them to take about your career goals.
- Go to Networking Events – If there are any networking events at your school, go to them whenever possible. But, don’t just go to them as a casual observer. Dress for success. Bring along your resumes while you’re at it. There are a lot of people who attend these functions, and you just might end up meeting the one person who can help you with your career after graduation.
- Do an Internship – There are so many reasons to do internships. For starters, you get a lot of valuable on the job experience. Even if you don’t end up with a job at the end of the internship, you will likely have gained experience, and made a lot of connections that can lead to other career opportunities. Don’t turn down unpaid internships that you might find through career matchmaking services.
- Talk to Your Parents’ Friends – Your parents have lots of friends who are all in different lines of work. Not only are these people valuable sources of information about their various careers, they are also great contacts to have. How many times have you heard about someone getting a job because the boss was a friend to their parents? It could be you one of these days.
- Take Part in Class – While this may seem like a no-brainer, you may not realize just how important this really is. Taking part in class not only helps you learn, it also gets you noticed by your professors. Make sure that you get to know them, and even ask to attend office hour sessions. Your professors have the connections that could help you to land that dream career one day.
- Take Advantage of Being a Student – When you want to talk to people in your area of interest, make sure that you tell them you are a student, and that you are just looking for advice. Once they know that you aren’t going to be trying to get an interview for a job before you even graduate, they will be more willing to help you. Depending on who you speak with, you could even wind up with a great mentor.
- Use LinkedIn – Making connections isn’t enough. You need to be able to stay connected with these people, so they don’t forget you. A great way to do this is by using LinkedIn. Just make sure that you update your profile regularly. Otherwise, you are going to grow boring, and they may forget about you all together.
Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.