College Career Networking Tips
Meet with your professors. Your professors are a valuable resource for your career. Although it can be intimidating to approach them, you should take advantage of all the help they can provide. Many professors are happy to meet with students out of class, so take the time to stop by your professor's office hours and get to know him or her. Introduce yourself, come with a question about the class material, and follow up by explaining your career interests. Although professors can be busy people, usually they appreciate seeing any expression of enthusiasm from their students. Cultivating connections with your professors also makes it easier to obtain recommendations, which you'll need whether you're planning on applying for a job or applying to graduate school after graduation.
Get to know your adviser. Your adviser - whether he or she is a professional academic counselor, or a faculty adviser - can do more than recommend classes. Most likely, your adviser also knows about internships, extracurricular activities relevant to your major, and other opportunities on and off campus that can jump start your career . He or she may also be able to connect you with professors in your department who can offer valuable career advice, so take the time to build a relationship with your adviser.
Expand your connections. Don't be afraid to reach out to professors who you haven't taken a class with. Usually, professors are very happy to talk with students and can connect you with other people within the department. Networking while you're still in college builds a foundation which you can draw upon down the road, when you're looking for a job or in need of a recommendation.
Don't forget to say, "Thanks!" After meeting with anyone, take a few minutes and send them a simple "thank you" email. Not only is it polite to express your gratitude, but it's a good way to solidify your professional relationship and it's also a good way to continue the connection into the future.
Stop by your college's career center. Most universities have career centers, where they will help you with your resume, provide information about internships, and advise you about finding a job post-graduation. Career counselors are more than happy to meet with students - that's what they're there for - so make an appointment and stop in, because it will only help you advance your career.
Take advantage of job fairs. Universities usually host job fairs on campus, in the spring and fall. Check your college's calendar, and mark the date. Even if you aren't immediately looking for a job, you should show up in professional attire, with a copy of your resume, to get your name out there and network with potential employers.
Go to alumni networking events. Alumni networking events are invaluable for your career. Treat them the same way you would a job fair, and even if you're a little nervous, don't pass up the opportunity to attend one. Not only can you get to know alumni in your chosen field - and also get first-hand advice relevant to your career - but it's a great way to explore potential job opportunities, too.
Ultimately, college can be one of the best times to start networking, but it requires initiative on your part. While simply going to class and doing your work will get you a degree, it won't get you the connections that you need for the future. So, take advantage of the four years that you have at a college campus - during which you are surrounded by professionals within your field - and start building a solid foundation for your career, before you even graduate.
College Student Job Search Articles and Advice