The job market is highly competitive and graduates without networks and connections often find it difficult to find jobs after college. This means that college students need to sharpen their networking skills while they are still in college. There are various strategies that students can use to establish professional networks while they are still in college.
Take advantage of networking nights
Most colleges have networking nights where potential recruiters set up booths to interact with students and to talk to them about their organizations and available opportunities. Other organizations conduct interviews in campuses to provide students with opportunities for internships. In addition, students can attend success centers where mock interviews are done so that they can learn interview techniques and etiquette, and how to pass interviews. Attend networking nights of other campuses if your college does not have one. Networking nights help students develop communication and people skills, which can help them establish networks. Students are required to behave professionally and dress appropriately when attending networking nights.
It can be difficult to remember the names of everyone you meet. However, remembering names is one of the easiest ways to establish networks. If you are not good in remembering names, consider repeating their names frequently until you commit them to memory. In case you know someone with a similar name, remember your network using his/her job title or even work place. Of course, you might need a few tries before you get the names. As you repeat the names of your contacts, visualize something unique about them that will help you remember their names. Alternatively, ask your networks for their business cards. That way, you not only have their name, but also their contact information.
Apply for internships
Instead of spending the holidays relaxing at home, apply for internships to get some job experience and network with other professionals in your industry. An internship will offer you the opportunity to meet new people and acquire job experience. It might offer opportunities for you to interact with fellow professionals some of whom may recommend you for employment or hire you.
Interact with friends of your parents
Ask your parents to introduce you to their friends who are in the same profession as you. Although some people shy off from such contacts, most of your parents’ friends will be pleased that you reached out and will be happy to help you. It does not hurt to ask and even if they are unable to offer you a job, they may provide valuable advice and insights about the industry. They may also refer you to companies that are hiring.
This is a great way to build your network. Do not wait until you finish college to start making connections. The platform will allow you keep up with relevant industry information and establish networks with fellow professionals.
Although it is important to focus on academics while in college, this is also the best time for you to establish networks and prepare yourself for the job market. Use every opportunity you get to establish contacts with professionals in your industry.