One of the simple ways to further your career is through networking. You need to know the right people and have the right contacts so you can identify opportunities that you would otherwise not have access to. How? Let’s take a look at some effective ways for you to network as a college student and enhance the odds of making it big in the industry. The job market is extremely competitive and getting a good job can be highly difficult if you do not network.
Remember who you meet: Throughout your college life you will come across several people who might be able to assist you in landing a job. From college professors, to people who come to visit for guest lectures – try to remember everyone you meet! If you are bad at remembering names you should write down names in a notepad or in your phone. Getting business cards is a good start. You should not be too aggressive in your approach, as there might be instances when professionals you meet might not be interested in talking or sharing their contact information with you due to personal reasons – you should accept that without question.
Get into internships or apprenticeships: Most colleges these days offer internship opportunities and you should try to gain as much experience from your internship or apprenticeship period as much as possible. One of the biggest advantages that an internship provides is that you get direct access to industry professionals and you can enhance your network during the time you work. There may be very influential contacts who can help you, and you need to be able to communicate efficiently to be successful in landing the right opportunities. Internships are not only about learning opportunities, but also opportunities that allow organizations to know if you are fit for the roles you apply for. You can also offer to work for free, and working on a short term project with an organization can benefit your job search greatly. It will allow you to identify networking trends at the workplace and how people communicate. The experience you earn can boost the odds of you getting a job and it’s one of the most effective ways to expand your network.
Use social networking websites: Ever since the introduction of LinkedIn, there has been a huge spurt in social media based recruitment. Platforms like LinkedIn allow organizations to get an overview of potential employees and they can easily shortlist people for job roles by going through the networks candidates are a part of, as well as their skill sets. Having a good network on LinkedIn is important and you will easily find top professionals you meet during your college life on the website. As soon as you build strong profiles on social media websites, you will be able to tap into the network and identify opportunities that can further your career.
Networking events: There are various events conducted by colleges to allow students to network and gain insightful knowledge from industry experts. Recruitment drives are also common in these networking events and you will find tons of booths with recruiters who share opportunities with students. You can walk up to any organization you are interested in and find out more. In most cases, HR professionals are present in these events who may even take on-the-spots interviews. These events can be greatly beneficial if you want to expand your network. Who knows, you might be able to land a job at the event! If networking events are not conducted by your institution you should actively join clubs and other societies in your college and be involved with them to gain opportunities to tap into. While networking, do not forget your classmates, as some courses have students from a wide variety of fields, and networking with them can open doors to multiple career options for the rest of you life.
Use your direct contacts: There is no harm in taking help from your friends or family in gaining a foothold in the industry. Many people are shy in approaching their parents or their friends to get jobs, but there’s no shame in doing so. Your parents can have reliable contacts, and even if your parents or direct contacts are not able to provide you with references, simply talking about their networking experiences can help you greatly by allowing you to identify how to network and go about with your job search.
Contact your faculty: College faculty and administrators can be very valuable for your job search and you should approach them in case they can refer you to job opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to you. College professors and administrators are actively involved with the industry tie ups and will surely help you out in getting your first job.
This article was contributed by guest author Paresh Dhake.