The Art of Networking: Tips for Undergrads

By Brittany Loeffler on October 8, 2018

Networking can change your life completely. Unfortunately, the reality of getting a job doesn’t mean how much is on your resume, but who you know. There are a number of people who are hired for a position purely because they know the right people.

This is where networking comes in. The more people you meet, the more people you’ll know, which means the more people there are to help you in the future. The best time to start networking is as an undergraduate student. It may be intimidating at first, but here are some simple ways to get started.

networking

via Pixabay

The Importance of Networking

Networking is so incredibly important when starting a career. The best time to start networking is while in college. This is one of the only times you will be exposed to a number of different people who can help you land your dream job.

So, why is networking so important? Networking means meeting a number of people in different industries with various titles. One day they may be able to help you when applying to a job. You never know who you will meet or who your network is connected with.

Networking Events

One skill you should gain while in college is networking. It can be hard to go up to someone and start a conversation, which is why networking events are great for beginners. Everyone at a networking event is there for the same reason: to meet people. Often times, colleges will host their own networking events for their students and alumni. Sometimes its even based on major or interest.

If your school is located in a city, search online for networking events hosted outside of your school. This will give you the chance to meet a greater amount of people from different places.

Professor Office Hours

It’s hard to imagine that your professor is an accomplished academic who probably has a lot of useful connections. So, start networking with your professors. Visit them during office hours to talk about class, your goals, and possible internships. They are extremely experienced in the field you would like to work in, so they may know someone who is looking for an intern or to hire someone full time. Your professors are incredibly useful resources when it comes to networking, don’t miss out on what they have to offer.

Informational Interviews

Do you have a company or career that you are passionate about? Reach out to an employee and ask for an informational interview to see just what their job is like and if it is what you expect it to be. While the main reason to set up informational interviews is to learn more about a company or position, it is disguised as a networking opportunity.

Once you meet that person and stay in touch with them, you have just added them to your network. Email or grab coffee with them every so often so they don’t forget about you. If you make a good impression, they may help you when it comes to applying to their company.

Career Fairs

Make your rounds at career fairs that your school hosts. While the atmosphere may be hectic and you can feel lost in a crowd of hungry college students, it is a great way to meet talent scouts and hiring managers at companies you are interested in. Don’t just hand them your resume, stop and actually have a conversation with them. Make a good impression on them and send a follow-up email to stay on their mind. They’ll be sure to recognize your name if you apply to their company in the future.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social media network for working professionals. It’s like Facebook, but for people who want to advance their careers and help others. The sole purpose is to network with people and connect with people from across the country and the world. A LinkedIn message can really go a long way, especially if you have something to offer and vice versa. LinkedIn opens the gates for an infinite number of opportunities.

Classmates

The easiest way to network as an undergrad is making friends with your classmates. You have no idea where your classmates will be ten years after you graduate. Being friendly with a classmate can go a long way when it comes to applying for jobs in the future. They may be working for your dream company and help you get your dream job. They may also know someone who can help you.

The Art of Networking

You may feel like you are too young to start networking as a freshman or sophomore college student. It’s never too early to start making connections that can help you in the future and last you a lifetime. Be friendly to everyone you encounter, make an effort to meet people, and talk to your professors. You never know how far a relationship may take you.

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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