By: Sherrill (Career Counselor/Guest Poster)
Often when people think of networking they picture an evening event with 200 or so students and professionals mingling in business attire while balancing plates of intriguing looking hors d’oeuvres. This is one approach, and there are a variety of options for students to expand their network, learn about interests, and seek out new experiences. We are here to help you prepare for large scale and smaller scale networking opportunities!
Here are just some networking suggestions, and you are encouraged to find ways to network that make you feel comfortable and boost your confidence.
Attend a speaker presentation or information session on campus. Introduce yourself to the people seated around you. Introduce yourself to the speaker afterwards and ask a relevant question.
Get to know your classmates. Fellow students may hear of opportunities that are not a fit for them, and they are more than happy to share the information. Do the same for others when you hear of opportunities.
Take advantage of professors’ office hours. This is a time to get to know professors outside of the classroom. Professors may be more inclined to write letters of recommendation for you down the road if they know you outside of the classroom.
Build an effective LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn Drop-In hours (every Thursday, 2-4pm, in SCC 22) are available for assistance in developing a LinkedIn presence. Create a positive, consistent social media presence across several platforms.
Complete informational interviews. Students repeatedly report that these are helpful. Informational interviews allow a student to sit down with a professional in a field of interest and learn more about the career path prior to seeking out internships or jobs.
Attend job & internship fairs early. Attending job & internship fairs as a freshman or sophomore has advantages. Employers remember students who express interest in a company multiple times.
Invite a connection or potential connection out for coffee. Learn about their career path and share your career interests. This can be a casual yet still professional way to develop connections.
Networking is more genuine and productive if it takes place before the individual actually needs something. Words of advice: start early!
Of Possible Interest:
- Networking topic page (all of our blog posts about Networking)
- Key to Networking (Pinterest board)
- Using Informational Interviews as a Job Search Technique
- Skillfully Summarizing Yourself (writing your LinkedIn summary)