It’s never too early to start networking. By keeping your eyes on the prize and networking early, things will be easier for you down the road. If you’re looking to break into a tough field or land a lucrative position, you’ll need as much time to network as possible. You might as well start while you’re still learning – you’ll be able to start your future with an advantage on people seeking the same positions.
1. Use Social Media
First and foremost, make all of your personal profiles private. Potential employers may be put off by the way you spend your private time, even if it’s absolutely normal for a college student. Then, create special social media accounts on popular networking platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. Join a few niche groups, and check them every day. You never know who else might be peeking in – especially to look for new talent.
2. Get an Internship
Most people take internships to help them gain experience while they’re in college. It’s usually a way to learn the general ins and outs of your future industry. Though it will take up a lot more time and effort, consider treating your internship as though it were a serious job. By going above and beyond, you’re more likely to get recognized for your efforts. Doing so may just land you a permanent position.
3. Freelance with Your Skills
Freelancing in college will help you make a little side cash, and since you control who you work with and when you work, you can almost always set aside the time to do it. If your freelance skills are in line with your major, you might be able to land a permanent position with a company who finds themselves impressed with your work.
4. Attend Campus Events
Colleges typically hold events for job recruiters or startups who might be looking to work with some students. Sure, they’re not the best way to spend a Friday night, but they may be the best way to cement your future. Put on your nicest outfit and be prepared to shake hands. It never hurts to have some business cards printed up – you never know when you may need them.
5. Ask Your Professors
Professionals approach higher level educators all the time. Some companies like students who haven’t been stuck in the same way of doing things. You’re a new mind, and you haven’t had the routines of other companies ingrained in you. If you actively participate in class and maintain a good relationship with your educator, you’ll undoubtedly pop into his or her mind when these opportunities arise.
6. Talk to Graduates
The best place to look for advice is from the people who have already done what it is you’re looking to do. You want to complete your schooling, and get a job. Recent grads have already done that, and they may be willing to pass on their tips and tricks to you. Some of them may have been in the right place at the right time, but it’s almost certain that others needed to figure out their own strategies that you may find beneficial.
7. Use The Provided Career Resources
One of the biggest networking mistakes that students make is ignoring all of the resources they already have at their disposal. Most colleges have an office or an employee designed to help students or graduates find jobs in their desired field. It’s the easiest thing you can possibly do to network, and it hardly takes any of your time.
Treat every event as though it were a networking opportunity. You never know who you’re going to meet and when you’ll meet them. Never be afraid to ask questions, and although it’s hard at times, always try to be on your best behavior.
|With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.