Networking is key to finding a job within your chosen career field, but it's not always easy to know where to start. Follow these steps to successfully network in college:
1. Be involved
It’s cliché, I know. But seriously, joining clubs and attending events (even those not directly involved with your major) is a GREAT way to meet people. Make small talk with the people at these events. You may learn something or make connections that will help you later on.
2. Buy a professional wardrobe
When it comes to attending networking events, you need to dress the part. As they say, dress for the job you want! This may be as simple as wearing a tie or a nice blazer to add a touch of professionalism to your look.
3. Come prepared with questions
Go to networking events prepared with questions and/or comments to ask potential connections. Know what you are interested in and what kind of work you are looking into, and see how you might be able to help the people you meet in return.
4. Bring your resume
You never know what opportunities may arise. Keep copies of your resume or business cards with you just in case. Also, bring several copies to networking events so you can hand them out to potential employers or people who may be able to connect you to an employer.
Create a loose (or strict) script of what you plan on saying to potential employers. Practice speaking with clarity and purpose. This is called your elevator pitch. Talk about who you are and what your professional interests are, and try to limit it to around a minute.
6. Create online networking profiles
This is 2018, networking has never been easier! Set up profiles with sites like LinkedIn, and you’ll be surprised how many connections you can make just through your professional online presence. These websites may also be a source of job listings that you qualify for.
7. Connect with alumni
Are you in contact with an alumni chapter? Reach out to alumni who work in your field of interest. Connecting with alumni is also a way to find out about scholarship opportunities you may not have known about otherwise.
8. Visit an advisor
This one seems obvious, but academic advisors are there for a reason. They know what’s up, and might know of any job opportunities that you would be a good fit for!
9. Talk to your professors
It’s safe to say your professors are probably familiar with some people who work in their field, and may be able to help you reach out to them. Professors have office hours for this very reason, and most of the time, they will be very willing to help you out!
10. Just go for it
Networking generally requires you to leave your comfort zone. You can do it! Take every opportunity you can, give it your best effort, and create your own future! The more you do it, the easier it gets.
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