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Networking In College
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this is some writing to create a space Meet Chloe, one of our summer 2017 ICI Interns:I’m Chloe Alexander, a recent graduate of an ICI member campus, where I studied Communications and History. You’ll find me in a library, coffee shop, or thrift store. I speak primarily in English, but also in Spanish with a terrible accent, FRIENDS quotes, and Disney song lyrics. I strive to make my mark on the world by writing, traveling, reading, engaging in critical thinking, and enjoying the arts. Ask me about my adorable dog and I will talk to you for a minimum of an hour. 

 Networking In College

December 6, 2017

Everyone says that you should be networking, but how exactly do you do that?

 

Befriend people. There are a lot of people you meet in college that can help you to expand your network. You will interact with classmates every day, so making a specific effort to get to know them better could help you out later. People with the same major as you will be people that work in the same industry as you in the future. You may even be co-workers with some of them one day. Your professors are also a group of people that will help you to develop a network. They can write you letters of recommendation and serve as a reference on applications. Creating a good relationship with them will be beneficial. A final group of people you should make an effort to get to know is alumni. Think of your school as a unique club in which membership is limited. Previous members of the club (alumni) will understand what it was like to be a part of such a club, while also having a willingness to speak highly of fellow members (you, a current student.) Reach out and talk to alumni. Ask them about what they did to find a job after graduating. Many of them are happy to talk to students and offer advice.

 

Know what to do on LinkedIn. Most students know that LinkedIn is a valuable professional tool, particularly for expanding your connections. But are you missing a few things? Here are just a few tips I have to offer on using your LinkedIn profile well. 1. Make sure you have a summary. This shows up at the very top of your profile and is basically an overview of your whole profile. Include key details and positions. This allows people to glance quickly through the important information they need to know about you. 2. Connect with people who interest you. Lots of people make the mistake of only adding people on LinkedIn that they know personally. Don’t be afraid to ask to connect with people that you look up to, people whose career you follow, those who you’d like to work with one day, a potential employer, etc. 3. Make sure that you are interacting on LinkedIn. Don’t create a profile and then not touch it for six months. Share an article that you find interesting. Read articles from those in your industry. Comment and share your opinion on that one post that everyone is talking about. It will allow your name to circulate better and be seen by more people.

Do informational interviews. As a college student looking for internships or a job, you will find yourself interviewed by multiple people. An informational interview, however, is one instance in which you get to be the interviewer! This practice is common in a number of fields. Simply email or call someone who is established in your field, and ask if they would be willing to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat with you and answer a few questions about their job. This gives you the opportunity to talk to someone who is already working in your field. Ask them how they got their current job, what a typical day looks like for them, responsibilities that they have, special skills that help them do their job well, how many opportunities for advancement there are, what part of their job is most satisfying, what special opportunities their job has provided, how college prepared them for their job, or any other burning question you have! Many people are more than willing to help out a college student who is still learning, so don’t be afraid to contact people!

 

Use social media wisely. It should go without saying, but your own content should look professional enough to impress a potential employer. However, you should also make sure that you are paying attention to those employers’ social media profiles as well. Does your favorite writer post updates on Facebook? Is there a company Instagram page that helps keep you up to date? Follow them! One way that I keep up with important people in my field is Twitter lists. You can create public or private lists on twitter of various accounts. In the drop-down menu next to the follow button on their account, there are options to add them to a list. During my time as an undergraduate student, I created a list of historians that were well-known in my field of interest, such as writers, professors, and museum curators.  The list helped me to keep up with what was going on in the field and topics that I should be aware of.

 

Networking is about more than just making connections. Maintaining those relationships is very important as well. Make sure that you talk to the people you’ve invested in. Get their advice regularly. Set up a monthly time to meet for coffee.

 

And don’t forget to attend as many college networking events as you can. They will help in surprising ways, even if it’s just getting you used to being at those events and knowing what is expected. 

 


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