As a college student, you are one step away from going into the real world and starting out your career. Thinking about this can be intimidating, but know that you have your entire college life to plan and figure out what you want to do.
Going to college is not just about performing well in your academics, but it’s also a time for you to prepare yourself for your future career. Of course, the first step is to figure out what you want to major in. Once you’ve decided on a major, allow yourself to focus on your studies and develop your skills. But most importantly, start building your networks while in college.
Networking is a great way for you to get introduced and be knowledgeable about the field you want to focus on. Talking to professionals in the same field will give you a lot of opportunities in the future.
To guide you, here are some tips you can follow:
Don't wait until you graduate to build your network so the best time to establish it is while you're still taking classes.
When it comes to your major classes, engage with your classmates but especially your professors - ask questions, consult if you need to, and converse with your peers. Your professors will have a lot of connections, considering they’ve worked in the industry for years now. They will also have a lot of advice to give you regarding the field. This will be very helpful when you start looking for job opportunities in the future.
In college, you will know a lot of people from your friends, colleagues, to your professors. These relationships will not only be beneficial to your personal life but to your professional life as well. Be active in building relationships, even outside your circle. Initiate conversation and introduce yourself to people in your class or in your organization.
Another great way to build your network is through your friends. When they introduce you to other people, strike up a conversation. But also do the same thing to them, help them grow their network by introducing them to other people.
If you’re a working student, whether at a part-time job or as an intern, use this to your advantage. You’re more likely to meet people from different walks of life while working, so take this chance to introduce yourself, to converse, and get to know them.
Maintain the relationships you’ve had with your employers or your colleagues - send them an email or a message every now and then. Chances are, they also know a lot of people who can introduce you to a lot of opportunities.
LinkedIn is a great way to create connections and maintain them, especially professional contacts. Update your LinkedIn account every now and then, and be as specific as possible when inputting details about yourself. This is a great platform to build connections with people from the same field you want to major in and for you to know what job opportunities are available.
Talk to your family and friends about your interests. You never know, your parents may know a lot of people who they can introduce you to. On the other hand, talking to recent graduates also will help you get an idea on what the situation is when it comes to searching for a job. This will help you in the future when it’s your time to look for one.
It's hard to know at this time where you will end up exactly, so developing a network when you're in the middle of nowhere is especially important. Creating and maintaining networks is very beneficial. You get to experience what it’s like to work in the field through other people’s stories, but more importantly, networking will help create opportunities for you to advance your career.