Networking in College
25 Oct 2017 11:00 PM
Networking, as defined by dictionary.com, is to interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one's career.
College networking is important because we all have a goal of graduating with a specific major and degree from Iowa State but we also need to build those connections while we are here. We need to build these relationships because once we graduate, we will need careers, and for those careers, we will need references and experience. Here are some things that I have learned about networking while being in college:
It is never too early. You can start getting involved within your first semester by running for cabinet positions in the residence hall or joining a club or organization and running for a leadership position. This involvement allows for you to meet faculty and staff that work with these organizations and if you build a good relationship, it can help you in the future.
Get an internship. Whether it is an internship that is mandatory for your major (which is obviously a good path to take) or if it is an experience to build your resume. Use your summer time, winter time, or even spring break to get an internship or job that expands your network and helps you improve the skills you already have.
Use LinkedIn. You never know who you may meet and maybe the way of contact with them is through LinkedIn. Many professionals use LinkedIn, you never know when you could use their help or when they can offer you an opportunity during or after college. Build those connections now. Once you build that LinkedIn profile, don’t forget to update anytime you get a new internship or leadership position. *Cough* *cough* I even need to update mine. *cough*
Try something new or different. Yes, internships and jobs that correspond to your major are important, but so are the ones that are different. Be well-rounded in your experience. You may learn some new things about yourself like discovering a new passion, or maybe finding out you do not like something as much as you thought.
Meet new people. Challenge yourself to meet a new person every day, whether that be faculty/staff or another peer. You never know what the new person you are meeting has to offer or what opportunities may arise from you meeting them. It is also important for networking because you do not want to go through all of college knowing the same group of people, it is good to know a diverse group of individuals.
These are five simple tips but make sure you go out and follow them! Try new things, get involved, meet new people. You never know what opportunities the future may hold. Take these chances while you can cause before you know it, it will be too late!