Career Networking Tips and Advice for College Students
Career networking may not be easy but with these tips we will offer you the advice on how to network your career very well and prepare your career life after graduation.
During college, your college experience is mostly about academics but in these college years you can use them as a prime time to jump-start your professional development.
To have an easier experience finding a job after graduation, make smart moves while you're still an undergraduate.
Career networking is not an easy path but with the right advice and tips you can strengthen your networking game during college with these strategies.
1. Utilize Your College's Career Services
The first thing to do while you're in college is to use your college's career services offices. These offices will provide you with personal career counselling, internship and job listings and other forms of job search assistant.
A college career office can even help you with nearly every step of your job search process from creating a resume, drafting a cover letter to conducting practice interviews with you. These services they are providing for you is already paid for by your tuition.
Some of the not obvious ways in which your college career office may help you is by:
- There are a lot of professional staffs trained in there to assist college students.
- Staff members work very closely with the employers who will hire you.
- It's loaded with a lot of career resources.
- The more known you are to the staff the easier they will recommend you.
- It's the best place in campus to help you figure out what and how you want to do with your career life.
- You're paying for it.
From your first year in college to your last year, your campus career service is a great place to start your career networking as a college student.
2. Engage With Your Faculty
Building a positive relationship with people in your faculty is very important for your career networking. Don't just sit back in your class writing down notes, make yourself known to the professor. Ask questions, sit up front and follow up with your professor by discussing issues out of class. This will help you improve your grades and lead to building a positive relationship which will help you in career networking.
The experience in which the professors have will help you as a college student build tons of connections, from former students to colleagues in the field will be a valuable resource during your internship search and job search.
Asking your professors for introduction to contacts in the fields of interests during their office hours will help you network very well. When you get introduced, it will be perceived as an endorsement by one of their trusted contacts and it will eventually lead to very productive career networking meetings.
If your professor fails to help you with any of that, try asking them for a recommendation/reference letter where you will be more grateful for the relationship you have been building throughout your college student life.
3. Reach out to Other Staff and Faculties
Don't limit yourself to professors from one faculty. Explore the whole department and other faculties in your college for somebody who you might think can be able to offer you career advice, land an internship or even a job. Contact them by sending a friendly email or by visiting them in their offices casually and chat about your career path.
Find common interests with a certain faculty after investigating the academic research interests. When you collaborate with someone on that faculty like in research experiences will help you put a positive stamp on your resume and lead to career networking referrals.
4. For Professional Networking use LinkedIn
While you are in college focus on building your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn will be a great way while you are networking to discover and stay in touch with your professional contacts. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated.
To network professionally in LinkedIn, join groups for your college and then reach out to alumni in your career field for advice, introductions, assistance with internships and jobs at their organization.
You can also look for other groups in your career field and check whether there is an option for college students to join and participate in professional sharing.
5. Talk to Recent Graduates
Recent graduates who have found a job have a unique perspective on how the job market is. When you talk with the recent graduates they will help you have a fresh perspective on the job market rather than the professors, strategies for finding a job and they may even have relationships with recruiters at their organization.
You can talk to the recent graduates by social networking through social media where you send a friendly message and don't let your message look like an internet scam. You can also meet them in an alumni interview or meeting them in the workplace will help you network your career as they may introduce you to some decision-makers on site.
6. Utilize Networking Events
If any college near you offers alumni networking events, please attend them and be serious about the events. Dress well and carry some few resume because you may not know who you might encounter.
If there will be companies in the event seek out the smaller and less-well-known companies, don't be preoccupied with brand-name employers.
Keep an eye out for profession specific job fairs in your area to network more. To make the most use of these events and start conversations with the people you meet is by attending as many other professional networking events as you have time for.
7. Utilize Your Semester Break Very Well
During your semester break try getting a job or an internship. Gather contacts from the career office and even reach out to alumni to set up consultations over the semester break.
For easier success of finding a job during your semester break, you should start planning for your semester break early enough. Update your resume and LinkedIn early enough and be have went through the advice on this article.
If you get a job during your summer break for some few weeks, you can meet lots of professionals in that environment who will help you in networking your career and making a positive impression.
8. Do Internships
To network your career as a college student, find and attend internships. Internships will help you get close to the job and if you do not end up getting the job, the people you meet may connect you with other opportunities in the future and also act as a source of career advice.
If your internship doesn't pay you, try doing it to your best and you'll get to thank yourself after graduation. Apart from networking you will also gain other skills such as experience, professionalism, learn how a professional workplace operates, build your resume, gain professional feedback, learn from others and even figure out what you like and what you don't like.
9. Have an Informational Interview
An informational interview will help you connect with someone at an internship, a professor or even a job that you admire. Request an informational interview in this field to find out how they got there and what they do.
There are steps of an informational interview according to the Harvard Business Review:
- Research career field
- Identify people to interview
- Prepare for the interview
- Initiate contact
- Conduct the informational interview
- Follow up
An informational interview for your career networking can also take place in the phone or via email. You will not only get contacts but also make valuable connections when it comes to launching your career if you maintain the contacts.
10. Connect With Your Company on Social Media
If you dream working in a specific company, try following them on social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
This will not only show your interest for the company but also it's an excellent way to keep of job openings. For example, many employers and companies post on their Twitter and other social media accounts when they're hiring.
Recruiting ace engineers for Giga Berlin! Will interview in person tomorrow on site. Send resume to 25Guns@Tesla.com.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 5, 2020
This was a tweet from the CEO of TESLA where he announced that they're hiring on Twitter. Follow the companies that you would like to work for to keep yourself updated.
Networking may not be easy it's hard work where you'll be required to invest some time in maintaining your networks, If you met someone at a networking event and they do not have a perfect job position, shoot an email towards them and appreciate the time they took to talk at you. Don't be afraid to make the first move.
These 10 career advice tips will help you very greatly in networking your career as a college student. The earlier you start following and implementing this tips the easier it will be for you when you graduate because of the connections and experience you have built.
If you're hesitant or shy, don't worry because it'll get better with some practice and time.
Have a happy career networking.