Working on your professional career should start as early as possible. Many students make the mistake of waiting to graduate to start thinking about their future careers. And while official education is one of the most important steps on that ladder, you still have to walk the extra mile to help your career development. This is why networking in college is a great idea for all ambitious students.
So, how can you start building meaningful connections in college? What is the right way to do networking while studying, and where do you start? We’ll answer all these questions, and more, in the article below.
What is Professional Networking?
Let’s begin with a brief explanation of what networking is and why it’s important for anyone at the start of their career.
Networking is the process of meeting professionals or those striving to become one from your field of interest or industry. It also refers to the process of building and maintaining connections with them to:
- stay informed
- exchange ideas
- offer and receive any value
- benefits your career or business in any way possible
You can think of networking as slowly entering the business world, making a great impression, and securing your spot there.
It’s no wonder that 79% of Americans say that networking is vital for their career progression. So, it’s not only desirable to engage in networking but essential.
Why Should College Students Network?
When you’re in college, you have many things on your mind. Academic tasks, social life, and personal issues are hard to handle. But you must consider your future and start making the right professional moves, even this early.
Networking can be seriously beneficial for students looking forward to their future careers. Here’s why college students should network.
Once you graduate, or even before that, you’ll want to start working in your field. The job-seeking process can be exhausting and often unsuccessful if you don’t know where to start or how. But it will be much easier if you’ve already met some people, attended some events, or created connections through networking.
It’s hard starting something completely new, especially when you’re alone. But, if you connect with other graduates looking for a similar job, you can support each other. This can be crucial for so many students.
The best opportunities aren’t going to come and look for you. You need to be there to catch them. Networking will help you be informed about internships, training programs, or job openings that you otherwise wouldn’t hear about and apply for. If you need help writing your CV or motivation letter, there are write my paper services who can do it for you.
It’s clear that networking can only benefit college students in their future careers and helps them reach their goals with less stress and failure.
How to Network in College?
Now that you’ve seen how important and beneficial networking can be for you, it’s time to look at some practical college network strategies. Below, we’ve prepared a list of the best tactics to network like a pro and build as many professional connections as possible. Let’s take a look.
LinkedIn is a social media that serves as a professional networking platform. It allows you to create a profile like on any other social media, but the focus is on your education, work experience, skills, knowledge, and professional goals.
For college students, LinkedIn can be a great way to:
- connect with people of similar aspirations
- see what kinds of jobs there are
- read what the industry experts have to say
- read news and follow innovation trends
It can even help you decide which major to choose. If you need a bit of help in this section, you can see here what some of the best advice is.
The next great way for college students to network is to attend events oriented toward their professional aspirations. These events can be organized by their or any other college or organization they follow.
The best networking events to visit are:
- career fairs: to learn about different career paths, companies, internships, and more
- workshops: great for learning something new, acquiring new skills, and meeting experts and other students alike
- volunteering events: best for showing off your skills and meeting people with similar values
- seminars: you’ll be learning from the best and broadening your horizons
Regardless of the type of event you visit, make sure you make the most of it. Participate in activities, introduce yourself to people, connect with them on social media, ask questions, and don’t be scared to make an impression.
Being a part of a student organization is another smart way to network while in college. Choose a club or organization related to your interest and potential career. You can even try and become part of the organization’s management and increase your chances of meeting the right people.
You’d be surprised to see how many former alumni are willing to step in when you need career guidance or advice. Those people were in your shoes recently and know exactly how you feel. This is why most of them will gladly accept your initiation for a friendly conversation and professional help.
You can find them on social media and reach out politely.
Finally, you can look for different job shadowing opportunities for the ultimate networking experience.
Job shadowing means finding a professional doing a job you’d like to learn about and potentially do. Then, you get to follow them around during their typical workday to learn about:
- their responsibilities
- how they handle tasks
- how they organize their workday
- what kind of skills do they need
- how they interact with colleagues
You can find job shadowing opportunities through personal connections or by reaching out to people. Also, these can be arranged by your student organization, your career counselor, or at one of the networking events you visit.
Networking for career success in college is not as hard as it seems. Considering the benefits that come with it, it’s a must for all students career goals. It helps you build confidence, learn about opportunities, and find your professional journey with the help of your industry connections.
So, take the advice we’ve shared above and start working on networking ASAP.
Mary Herd is a college counselor and a blogger. Her main goal is to motivate students to act responsibly about their future careers and find the perfect professional growth opportunities.