It’s never too early to begin networking. And if you wish to land a job by the time you finish your college, you’ve got to develop professional relations and know people in the industry in which you want to work.
So how should college students go about establishing new connections and getting the best possible opportunities to connect with people while they are studying full time?
Here are some tips that will help you.
Acquire the right perspective
The preliminary thing for you to do is to adopt the proper frame of mind. It is essential to know that you may not have much to offer to people you meet except for your enthusiasm and your willingness to work in an industry. Your age and your lack of experience go against you. The more you understand your strengths and weaknesses, the better,
Your goal is to plainly offer value to the people you meet, irrespective of your degree. Even if it is something small like helping someone find a restaurant, recommending a service or helping them understand the nuances of a software. With the right mindset, you will have the confidence to talk to meet and offer them something value.
Be conscious of your image and reputation
Students may often think that college is an escape from the “real world,” but the reality is everything you do in college and subsequently will follow you around when you hit the working world.
It’s like that old saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” only in reverse. What happens in college sure doesn’t stay in college.
It’s also vital to be cognizant of your reputation and image online. Your peers, and in some cases professors and bosses, are watching what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. If it’s not something you want to be remembered for in 5, 10, and even 20 years down the road, don’t post it. If you already have, remove it. It’s that simple.
Get connected with a student organization
Many student organizations are sanctioned through national organizations. Getting involved with these groups could provide you opportunities to meet people outside of your college.
For example, if you are interested in politics, both the College Democrats and the College Republicans would be good ways to network within that field, as these groups often have local party politicians talking at their meetings, and the groups are considered valuable volunteer resources for political campaigns. If you reach to a position of leadership within one of these groups, you may get on the radar of influential power players.
When giving a thought on what organization to join, don’t just concentrate on student groups. Many trade associations give student membership free of cost or at a discounted price. Having a discounted membership can give you more affordable access to conferences or conventions that provide great opportunities to network with professionals in that field.
So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to give your career a launch pad even before you get a job.