How to Make Lasting Connections in College
When you are at college is the time to start making connections for the future, networking, as it is commonly known. Contacts made now could last a lifetime and you never know when they may be useful. You will not be taught about networking in any of your classes because it does not fit into any of the subjects they teach. So what exactly is networking and how do you go about it?
Networking On Social Media
Most people are used to making friends and connections on social media networks, and that is where the name comes from. You will most probably have already built a network of social media acquaintances, and so will know how that works. But did you realize that this group of friends you already have could help you with your career? Keep in touch with them through your college days and make posts about what your eventual aim is. You only need one of them to have a friend or relative that is in the line you want to move into, to have someone you can discuss your aspirations with.
You should make sure you have a profile on LinkedIn, as prospective employers do look there to see if they can find someone with the qualifications they are after.
You could even go one step further and set up your own website. This could almost be like an electronic resume, with all the information about your education, interests and work experience. Then if someone is interested in looking at you closer for a job, you can direct them straight to your website.
Just make sure the website is appealing to the eye and easy to navigate to the different pages otherwise it may put them off progressing any further.
Networking will not be the thing occupying your mind while you are studying, but you can do it without even thinking about it too much. Joining college societies is a great way of meeting people you might not otherwise have got to know, and colleges have them for most people’s interests.
You can find more about these societies and how beneficial they are if you aren’t sure, right now. The ideal is to find societies that are unconnected to your studies as that way you will make connections that are new to you.
Getting involved in anything on campus will look good on your resume, but particularly employers like the fact students bothered to join a society.
Make It Part Of Your Routine
Your fellow students and tutors can be your most valuable asset when the time comes for you to find work. With the professors, they may be able to offer you some insight into the profession you are considering. They could also be a valuable source of references about you, and to other people in your chosen career. It is also not uncommon for them to be approached just before graduation to see if they know of any students that may be suitable for a particular job.
With your fellow students, they may well come across work that is not suited to them but is ideal for you. If you have a network of friends such as this, they will let you know if that happens.
Visit Your Campus Career Center
Your college will probably have a center that is full of free resources about careers. Don’t ignore it as there may well be opportunities for internships among all the information. These are great for getting on the job experience, and for making new contacts in the profession you have chosen.
Welcome New Connections
You should welcome all new connections, as you do not know what other connections they may have. Building your network is all about being open to all contacts so that when they hear of something that might suit you, they let you know.
You should never be afraid to be the one that speaks first either. Confidence can go a long way when it comes to finding work, so you need to let your network know that you have bundles of it.
Use Your Memory
One of the things that will impress people you have only met a couple of times is when you remember important facts about them. Even if you make notes on your phone about people, that is easily accessed if you come across them again. Don’t just throw facts at them though. Be genuinely interested in their job and life, without being too inquisitive of course.
Look After Your Network
Networking is not like collecting business cards where you can throw them in the back of your wallet and forget about them until you need them. You need to keep some sort of contact with them, even if it is just an occasional email saying how are you. They may not have any ideas of how they can help you at the present time, but that could change very quickly. There could suddenly be a job become available with the business they work for, or they may even start a business of their own and be looking for assistance.
You have to keep your network running all the time, or it will start to disappear and all the effort you have already put into it will be wasted.
The Importance of networking in college cannot be underestimated. Over the next four years, you are going to meet a lot of new people, and you never know which of those could prove useful when it comes to the time you are looking for work.
The job market is very competitive, and you will need to use every advantage you can to secure the job of your dreams. Networking will give you much more chance of achieving that, and the bigger your network is the larger that chance becomes. Like many things in life, it is better to start your college networking sooner rather than later, as then it will just become a habit that you will have for the rest of your life.