Networking revolves around fostering reciprocity-based relationships. For young professionals getting their feet wet in the working world through internships and part-time jobs, networking is a great way to make career connections. We have some valuable networking tips for college students that will help draw you closer toward your long-term career goals.
Top Networking Tips For College Students
Don’t Neglect LinkedIn
College is the prime time to start connecting with similar professionals. When requesting connections, include a personalized message and highlight a shared interest — clubs, field, place of education, workplace, hometown, college major or hobbies. Once you’ve connected, suggest a coffee meeting or a 15-20 minute informal interview (either on the phone or in person). During the conversation, ask questions like: “What does a typical day look like in your job? What do you most enjoy about working there? Do you face any particular obstacles or challenges? What advice do you have for a college student seeking to pursue a career in this field or at your company?” LinkedIn provides the perfect platform to start growing a relevant network of professionals.
Through apps or sites like Meetup, you’re able to join groups that specifically include young professionals or other college students in your city. Whether it’s a chat over coffee or a lunchtime discussion, you can find a group of other like-minded people (or, start your own Meetup!).
Stop By Career Fairs
Even if you are not actively searching for a job, it’s crucial to continue fostering connections. This is one of the best networking tips for college students, as it introduces you to other like-minded professionals. Our BestCompaniesAZ Career Events allow you to meet hiring representatives from the best employers in Arizona. You can even look for career fairs at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and various local community colleges to learn more and discover job openings. You’ll garner firsthand insight into what it’s like to work someplace through career fairs. Remember to bring multiple resume copies!
Register For A Conference In Your Related Field
A conference in your field of study can open your eyes to prominent industry figures and help you build a reputable network. Maybe you want to meet other professionals and gather industry insight, or garner expertise from leaders in your field. Either way, you will likely leave the conference filled with fresh knowledge and key connections. Bring along plenty of business cards, and try not to be shy — strike up a few conversations at the event.
Join Workshops & Visit Organizations
Rather than attending a group meetup once in a blue moon, consider getting acquainted with an organization that schedules regular meetings to talk about field-related topics. You can also find workshops that offer learning opportunities in your area of interest or college major.
General Networking Tips For College Students
- Do your best to cast a wide net when forging new professional connections. Besides adding relevant LinkedIn members, test some different ideas. Have you touched base with community leaders, former teachers/college professors, or even parents of friends who have connections? Perhaps you also have extended family who can offer useful networking connections and advice.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Instead, try phoning new contacts — then, the ball will be in their court. Don’t pester them — but leave a brief voicemail to kick things off.
- Stay polished. Besides dressing professionally when meeting new people, maintain a positive reputation both online and offline. Check over your social media accounts. Never toss back too many drinks at a networking mixer. Always remain enthusiastic and polite at potentially drawn-out conferences and events. Proofread every single word of every email and LinkedIn message you send.
- Say “yes” more often, because your networking opportunities can only expand this way. If you’re an introvert, try to fake extroversion at events. It’s important to get accustomed to talking to strangers at business events, and good things come of it!
- Ask questions. In addition to getting what you want out of someone new in your professional circle, it’s also crucial to create a meaningful, reciprocating relationship. For a more comfortable situation, ask new connections questions about themselves — not just work. Always be inquisitive, as it’ll take you far.
- Follow any experts you admire relevant to your field — on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, on their blogs, through email digests, and so forth.