5 Tips for Networking While in College
While you’re still in school, we recommend using your academic life as a springboard for your professional life, because it’s the easiest time to make new connections. In this practical guide, we’ve shared how to network in college, so you can build relationships that last throughout your career. After all, when you’re making friends with students in your field, it hardly feels like networking.
Connect with Family Friends
During vacation, ask your parents to introduce you to friends and acquaintances that can help with professional advice. They’ll be happy to share some firsthand experiences about your industry, and maybe they can get you a job interview when you graduate. We recommend forging these parental connections as early as possible so that you have a rapport when it’s time to ask for help.
Use Your Student Status
Students with initiative are always appreciated. If you reach out to industry icons and alumni, you may be surprised at the high response rate. Typically, successful people want to give back to their community. This is especially true when they know that you’re not asking for a job, or making a business pitch. Before your junior year, you should try to gain a few mentors in your field. Send some email introductions to people you admire, and offer to work for free to gain experience while you’re still studying.
Find an Internship
Most companies offer internships for college credit, and they’re a fantastic way to build relationships while still in school. You’ll get to work with full-time staff, dip your toes in an office environment, and bolster your resume at the same time. Furthermore, employees often look to interns when filling entry-level positions in a company. It’s a tremendous advantage.
Start a LinkedIn Account
It may seem premature to create a LinkedIn profile when you’re a student. However, if you’re networking in college with peers and family friends, you can use the business social network to stay in touch after graduation. Likewise, when companies are hiring, they rely on LinkedIn’s database to search for qualified employees. Build your profile as soon as possible so that you can reap the benefits. Click here to view tips on creating the best LinkedIn Profile.
Join a Campus Club
Finally, if college networking feels like pulling teeth, you can join a club! Every college has dozens, if not hundreds of clubs and volunteer organizations. They’re the best way to make connections in your field. Many of these clubs operate on a national level, and you’ll be able to meet people at other schools as well. Once you’ve learned how to network in college, you’ll have the social skills to thrive in the real world.