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Posted June 16, 2016 by

Networking tips for college students and recent grads

Businessman and businesswoman chatting in the office pantry photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

To improve their chances of landing entry-level jobs, college students and recent graduates should engage in networking. Professional networking often includes but is not limited to talking to and building relationships with the right people who can advance their careers. Students and recent grads also have to think about branding themselves personally and professionally. Networking is a long process, and students should begin early. So how can job seekers network successfully? Bruce Harpham, Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com, shares two networking tips for college students and recent graduates.

Join a professional association to explore a career interest. For example, the Project Management Institute is great if you are interested in project management or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute if you are interested in finance. For the best results, attend an event and then ask to meet one-on-one with an association leader. Many professional associations have free or low cost fees for students. Spending three to four hours per month attending networking events and talking with an industry leader is worth 10 hours of online job search.

Prepare for coffee networking meetings. Come prepared with three to five specific questions written in a notebook to ask professionals about their careers. Make sure none of the questions are answerable with a two minute Google search. Putting 15 minutes of preparation time into developing good questions means you will gather better information and create more effective relationships. I still follow this practice today and it regularly impresses the people I meet.”

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Bruce Harpham, Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com

Bruce Harpham, Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com

Bruce Harpham is the Founder of Projectmanagementhacks.com, a career development resource, and freelance writer. Bruce’s writing has appeared in CIO, InfoWorld, CSO, ProjectManagement.com, and other publications. Bruce lives in Toronto, Canada.