Posted June 21, 2016 by

8 networking tips for college students

It’s easy to believe networking is something you can wait to worry about when you begin your job search. This is a classic mistake college students make, though, and one you can’t really afford. For one thing, you’re really building relationships and making impressions people already, whether you intend to or not. You might as well mindfully build positive relationships, make good impressions, and consciously network with people right now. You never know—the connections you make as a sophomore in college could be the connections you need to land an amazing internship your junior year or an even better entry-level management position after college.

Soak in these eight networking tips in this quick video by Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, and you’ll be networking like a pro when you return to campus this fall.


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1.Look around you.

It’s easy as a college student to stay in your own zone and to focus on studying, dating, and obsessing about your own life. Get out of that zone and smile, greet those around you, and make an effort to meet at least two or three new people on campus per week. On college campuses, you have access to hundreds or thousands of helpful people who you could network with—faculty members, staff members, career services employees, advisors, classmates, and many more. Even if you choose to live off campus, you can make the most of your time on campus before and after class—and even during class when working on team projects—by building great relationships with people.

2. Get off campus regularly and out of the campus bubble.

If you want to secure a part-time job or internship while you’re in college, this is key. Visit the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, and other local professional organizations. You’ll not only learn about the community by joining or attending community functions and meetings, but you’ll have the chance to network with local professionals and leaders, too.

3. Get involved on campus.

Select at least two campus organizations to join as a college student. Try to join organizations with a mission or purpose which matches your lifelong goals or career pursuits. While hanging out with your friends is beneficial to your social life, it’s even better to hang out with friends who share a common career goal while you accomplish something together.

4. Take advantage of your parents’ friends and your friends’ parents.

Old people can be pretty helpful in connecting you to people who know lots of other people, own companies, manage teams, etc. Never show up at your friend’s house and breeze by his parents on the way to the pool. Always be polite and conversational. If your friend’s parents ask you what you’re doing in school, what you’re majoring in, and what your goals are, stop and have that conversation. It might be the most important conversation you have all summer.

5. Take advantage of career services on campus.

Never in your life will you have access to the myriad of free career services and events as you do as a college student. After graduation, you’ll most likely have to pay for these services via career coaches. Career services offices host helpful events year-round like career fairs, etiquette dinners, and mock interviews. Career services professionals typically have great connections to employers and can help you find internships and entry-level job opportunities. You should also take advantage of free online services like the chance to register to search for jobs at CollegeRecruiter.com.

6. Use social media strategically.

The time to begin building your reputation online through online branding is as a college student. 94% of employers admit to searching for candidates online before inviting them for face-to-face interviews. Unless you never plan on searching for jobs in your life, it’s too risky to post ridiculous, inappropriate content on social media throughout your college years and then suddenly hope that recruiters won’t find it or won’t care. They will.

7. Connect with alumni.

Alumni make great connections because they already have great jobs and typically care about helping students from their alma mater. Your institutional advancement office on campus can help you connect with alumni. Most colleges host events for alumni and often encourage students to attend, too. These events are great networking opportunities for college students. You can also reach out to alumni on social media.

8. Do good work.

Finally, the best way to ensure that your contacts will say good things about you and think of you when they hear of great job leads is to consistently do good work. Make great grades, earn awards, and excel in as many areas as you can. Treat people with courtesy, kindness, and consistency, and people will think of you when asked, “Do you know anyone who’s looking?”

Keep coming back for more networking tips, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Posted in Advice for Candidates, Career Advice, Job Search, Networking, soft skills, Tuesday Tip | Tagged Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,