Did you know that networking is often more important than education when it comes to finding a job in your field? Yes, you need the professional know-how, but building a strong network is how you get your foot in the door. Succeeding in college isn’t enough.
For many people, the idea of networking is stressful. How are you supposed to find people who can help you? Isn’t networking like using people?
We’re here to talk about it. Keep reading for a few top networking tips that all college students should take advantage of.
1. Talk To Professors
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Too many college students never interact with their professors when class isn’t in session. This is a huge mistake. If you don’t talk to your professors, you’re missing out on the most valuable resources that your university has to offer.
Your professors are already professionals in their field. If they’re major-specific professors, that means that they’re also professionals in your field. They know all about it!
If you show a genuine interest in what your professors are doing and teaching, they’ll be happy to offer you advice (as long as you visit them during their contracted office hours, not on their own time). They want to help you succeed.
Your professors can teach you how to network with other industry professionals and even help you when it comes to finding a job. They’re not just there to bore you with lectures. Professors love to see student enthusiasm.
2. Visit Your Campus Career Center
Did you even know that your campus has a career center? Chances are that it does, and not enough people are taking advantage of it!
Many college students only use the campus career center when they’re trying to get on-campus jobs. While you can certainly use it for that purpose, career counselors will also help you network with people within your desired fields.
They can help you find internships and make connections with professionals within your niche. This is a free service to all students.
Some colleges even have online job directories, similar to Indeed, but only for students or former students. Take advantage of this to expand your network!
3. Make Friends
This might seem overly simplistic, but if you want to network in college, make friends with as many people as possible!
Too many people don’t try to network until they’re actively trying to get a job. This can make networking feel like “using.” You should start networking with people that you find interesting before you ever need them.
The friends and connections that you make in college will be valuable throughout your career. You can call on them for connections and give connections in return. You may end up getting the perfect career tip from someone who was in your sophomore year physics class that you never would have expected.
Yes, friends aren’t necessarily work resources, but they’re still important parts of your network.
4. Get Involved
We all know that college can be exhausting. Between going to classes, doing internships, working, doing homework, and trying to maintain some semblance of social life, it might not seem like you have any gas in your tank for anything else.
If you’re able to work up some extra energy, try to get involved with campus clubs, societies, and events. There are so many to choose from that there’s going to be at least one thing that will hold your interest and progress your educational and professional career.
Honor societies, like Alpha Kappa Mu, will look good on future resumes. If you’re in the arts, joining an art club or working with a group that teaches art to children will make you look outstanding.
Events are great ways to meet new people that you may never have interacted within your classes.
One of the best things about college is the ability to meet an abundance of new and unique people. Take advantage of this by putting yourself out there and getting involved with your campus community!
5. Get Online
Sometimes we forget that apps like Instagram and Facebook are social networking tools. Yes, we mostly use them for connecting with friends and posting fun pictures, but if you set up a professional online presence, you can also use it for your future career ventures.
For example, if you’re an artist, set up an Instagram just for your art. People in all niches can connect with others through social media. You’ll see dozens of therapists, doctors, researchers, nutritionists, and more educating followers and connecting with other industry professionals across social platforms.
You should also take advantage of LinkedIn. It’s the most “professional” of the networking sites, and you’re able to access job postings right from the website. You may even have potential employers reaching out to you if you’re a strong candidate.
6. Go to Meet-ups and Conferences
You’re never too young to go to industry-specific meet-ups and conferences. As long as they’re not limited to current professionals, you should be able to find a way through the doors.
Many schools offer entry to conferences through their programs or internships. For example, you can often get access (sometimes free access) to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference through creative writing programs.
At conferences, you can connect with industry professionals and peers who have the same goals that you do. You can start a whole new generation of future professionals, and the connections that you make there can help you in the future.
You’ll also get to go to seminars and learn from professionals. Don’t miss these opportunities.
Try These Networking Tips for College Students
There are plenty of ways to the network when you’re in college. This is actually the best time for you to make new connections. You’re surrounded by people who share your goals and want to see you thrive!
Try out these networking tips so you can start working your way toward your ideal career. Try to have confidence and start networking today!
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