We all know how essential it is for your career to build relationships, but has anyone ever told you how to actually network? If you’re like me, or almost all college undergraduates, you know how stressful it can be to get towards the end of your college career and realize that soon you’ll be out there in the real world. Well don’t stress - it’s actually easy! Here are the steps you'll need to take:
Talk to Your Professors
How many of your lecture hall teachers have you ever even spoken to? Not only is this the perfect way to succeed in your class, but think about how many successful students they’ve had come through their doors - they have more connections than you may think. Your adviser is also a wonderful connection. Talk with them about your goals, and see if they can help you at all. My adviser once told me that he loves getting internships for his students - but he can only help the people who ask.
We have talked about this in previous blog posts, but it’s such a wonderful way to develop a new connection. Cold e-mailing is “a tactic that focuses on sending relevant, personalized emails to prospects that you've previously had no contact with”. A friend of mine recently e-mailed a CEO that he did not know, and the CEO asked to meet for lunch shortly after. Although his company did not have an open position in the city he wanted, he enjoyed meeting him so much that he got him 3 interviews with his connections in that city so he could land his first job after college.
Make a LinkedIn, and Update It
Most of my peers have a LinkedIn profile, but never update it. I make it a point to add 10 new connections per week, and I’m always keeping my profile up-to-date and interacting with my network. It’s a simple way to stay in touch and have your profile stand out professionally from your classmates.
Stay in Touch with Everyone You Meet
If you meet someone that could potentially help your career after you graduate - stay in touch with them! Whenever I meet someone in the career field that I’m in - I simply suggest that we should keep in touch, and they give me their e-mail. Reach out at least once per month (even if it’s just to ask them how they are doing) so that they don’t forget about you. Once graduation rolls around, you’ll be thankful you did that.
Go to Networking Events
Last, but not least - every introvert's nightmare! If the thought of a networking petrifies you, bring a friend! Just don’t spend all of your time with each other when you are there. Once you both are comfortable with the atmosphere of the event, venture out on your own and meet some new people. Just like public speaking - the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be with it. Here are some great websites to find networking events in your area:
- Meetup.com you can set up a free account and sign up for the once-weekly email calendar of all the gatherings happening in your area.
- Eventbrite allows you to search for events by location and category.
- Eventful is similar to Eventbrite, but Eventful also allows you to connect with other users on the website.
I hope that some of these resources help you in your future job search. Do you have any other advice that you’d like to tell us about? Share it below, and happy hunting!
Story By: Anna Grady Wilson