College isn’t just about academics: it’s also a fantastic time to begin working on your professional development. During your formative years of higher education, networking can help you find work after graduation. According to one poll, 78 percent of recent college grads said networking was an important part of their job hunt. Here’s how you can start growing your professional network while you’re still in school.
We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” when it comes to securing a job. Networking is important because it allows you to form relationships with individuals who can help you go where you want to go. It is preferable to begin building a professional network while still in college. Getting started with a LinkedIn account, which allows you to find and connect with people, is a great way to begin started. Among them are employers, recruiters, industry experts, and other career-oriented people.
LinkedIn also makes it simple to connect with alumni, who are frequently ready to put you in touch with other professionals they know and provide career advice. This holds true for professors as well. If you have a particular interest in a subject, don’t be afraid to reach out to instructors in that field. One of them may turn out to be your mentor, altering your life’s trajectory.
Consider doing an internship to get your foot in the door in your chosen field. Even if it doesn’t lead to a job, you can meet people who can connect you with other opportunities. Your coworkers may be able to provide references for future job openings. Another way to develop contacts is to get involved on campus. Participating in sports, clubs, honor societies, fraternities, sororities, and other groups, for example, allows you to meet a diverse group of people and build relationships with peers, mentors, counselors, coaches, and others. Volunteering and taking on a part-time job are other great methods to meet people in the business world.
Make an effort to attend networking and professional events, whether they are held in person or online. This allows you to connect with people who share your interests and discuss issues related to your field of study. Make sure you dress the part, engage in conversation, and ask questions. Send a follow-up email to a professional with whom you have struck up a conversation.
More advice on how to expand your professional network while in college can be found in the resource.