The idea of networking can cause a lot of anxiety in some students because it requires them to step outside of their comfort zone. That being said, most jobs are found through networking, so if you are serious about finding work, you have no choice but to confront your demons.
For students, networking can be utilized in various ways when it comes to searching for a job or new career:
- Explore your options.
- Get insights into the field that interests you.
- Gather information about different organizations, associations and industries.
- Ask for career advice.
- Get job leads.
- What is your ‘hire’ ability? Let someone with experience tell you.
Define Yourself and Your Network
Your immediate network includes your family, friends, professors, college advisors, college staff and internship contacts. Start networking with them. They are part of your “comfort zone.” Make sure that these people know what your career and educational goals are. If possible, try to leverage their network.
Beyond the Campus
Opportunities or leads can come to you from the most unexpected sources, so be ready. You may receive a lead while at the gym, attending church or just chatting with a neighbor. For instance, you may learn about an internship opportunity through your little brother’s baseball coach. Talk to as many people as you can about your career objectives, ideas, goals and progress. Ask them for their input. You might be in for a surprise.
Professional associations are good for networking as well. They sometimes provide mentoring programs and job postings for registered members. Find out from your professors or connections which associations you should join.
One source that is often disregarded is the alumni network at colleges or universities. Leverage that network. You already have a connection: you studied at the same school.
Keeping Track and in Touch
As you network, make sure to keep track of your networking contacts; their names, titles, phone numbers, emails, and other relevant information. You worked hard to get in touch, so don’t get out of touch by inadvertence.
by John Sylo