Student life is filled with endless opportunities to meet new people, so it’s important you know how to make the most of your time. These networking tips for college students will help you connect and get ahead in your classes.
The “networking 101 for college students” is a guide on how to network at college. The article includes tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your networking skills.
These days, being a college student is a difficult task.
Long school days, expensive tuition fees, the coming duties of maturity, and, most crucially, networking must all be dealt with.
What’s going on here? Networking? Isn’t “networking” reserved for men who have already completed their studies? While you’re fretting about exams and homework, you shouldn’t have to worry about that sleazy old approach of throwing out business cards at dull cocktail parties, right?
Reconsider your position. If you think you’ll be able to coast through college by concentrating just on your academics and which party to go this weekend, you’ll be very disappointed when it’s time to graduate.
Here’s the issue: most college students don’t give network development a second consideration.
I’d want to dispute your viewpoint in this essay. From styling recommendations to classroom etiquette to note-taking tactics to study ideas, Art of Manliness has already supplied lots of information to help you survive college.
Today, I’d want to persuade you that college is about more than what you accomplish in the classroom. You must devote almost as much time and effort to developing connections that will benefit your career as you do to your education. To make things simpler for you, I’m going to offer you some practical suggestions for how you can start creating connections while you’re still in college, which can help you find work when you graduate, create or fund a company, and maybe even fuel your career for years to come.
According to research, 70 to 80 percent of jobs aren’t publicized. That implies you’ll have to ask others in your network about the overwhelming majority of jobs if you want to hear about them. And, unlike an app, your network cannot be purchased, borrowed, or downloaded; it must be built over time by you via constant activity. That’s why it’s vital to start cultivating those connections now so you can learn about these unadvertised opportunities when it’s time to look for work.
The good news is that if you have the correct mentality and take continuous effort, building a powerful network is pretty simple. Here are eight suggestions for starting to form meaningful connections while still in college.
1. Adopt the Correct Mentality
The first step is to get into the appropriate mindset. It is critical to recognize that it makes no difference how much experience you have or how old you are.
Your objective is to simply provide value to the individuals you encounter, whether it’s as basic as making a restaurant suggestion or teaching someone how to use a computer shortcut. However, you must first believe in yourself that you have something valuable to share.
“The notion that you have nothing to give is a major roadblock for most college students,” says Michelle Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likeability. “However, no matter how far along in our professions we are, we’ve all been in that situation.” We’ve all experienced the notion that we don’t have anything to contribute.”
When Lederman was a fresh college graduate, she met with a highly successful CEO. Lederman admits she “hadn’t an idea” about business at the time, but she merely asked the CEO thought-provoking questions that provided him a fresh perspective on an issue he’d been grappling with.
“Don’t underestimate the value of your curiosity and interest to others,” adds Lederman. “Giving someone comments, piqueing their interest, and seeking advice are all gifts that may make someone else feel valued.”
2. Be Aware of Your Public Image and Reputation
You may believe that college is a vacation from the “real world,” but the truth is that whatever you accomplish in college will follow you into the workplace.
It’s like the old adage, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” except reversed. What occurs in college isn’t always permanent.
To put it another way, if you behave like Bluto Blutarsky in college, you’ll get a lot of laughs, but you’ll also be the last man your friends think of when it comes to job openings or business prospects once you graduate.
The CEO of College Works Painting, Matt Stewart, utilizes the metaphor of a boat’s wake to demonstrate the influence your conduct and actions have on your bigger reputation. “You have to think about your legacy,” Stewart adds. “When a boat passes by, it creates a ripple effect. You must deal with the waves that have been left behind, as well as their image.”
A negative reputation, according to Stewart, will never be forgotten. “In college, there was a man we dubbed ‘No Pay Ray,’” Stewart recalls. Why was he dubbed No Pay Ray? “Whenever we went anyplace, he never contributed in on the bill,” she says.
No Pay Ray “calls me with [possible] agreements all the time now,” Stewart adds. Stewart, on the other hand, ignores these possibilities. “I recall his ethics being a bit skewed in college, and they are still skewed today.” He invites me to collaborate on business agreements with him. It’s something I’d never do. Because of who he was back then, not because of who he is today.”
Stewart earned his bachelor’s degree in 1994. That indicates that Ray’s acts in his late adolescence continue to harm Stewart more than 20 years after he graduated from college. That may not seem fair, but it is a fact of life that people have a stubborn, long memory.
The next time you’re out to dinner with your friends and the check comes, remember this lesson.
It’s also crucial to be aware of your internet reputation and image. What you publish on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites is visible to your friends, as well as teachers and employers in certain situations. Don’t share anything if it’s not something you want to be known for in 5, 10, or even 20 years. That’s all there is to it.
3. Begin by looking for introductions inside your current network.
College has traditionally been associated with the formation of strong, long-lasting friendships. Maintaining such ties and keeping in contact with old pals should be a priority. Using your courses as points of commonality to meet other students is one way to ease into it.
During the semester, go about the classroom and sit in various areas, introducing yourself to the person sitting next to you. This can help you gain confidence and make new acquaintances if you’re having problems expanding your network. You could even get a date as a result of it.
Individuals you already know may help you extend your network by introducing you to new people. If you want to accept introductions, you must first make them. When you introduce individuals in your network who might benefit from knowing one another, you generate goodwill, and those you introduce will want to return the favor.
4. Pursue Internships That Are Only Available to Students
There are a lot of wonderful internship opportunities out there, and many of them are only available to students. Take advantage of these opportunities! Disney, Google, and Proctor & Gamble are just a few examples of well-known firms that provide student internships. An internship is an excellent opportunity to form strong bonds with possible mentors and perhaps employers.
In fact, I owe my whole professional career to a student internship. I worked in the White House speechwriting office during the autumn semester of my senior year of college. After graduating, she got a position as a journalist at the White House. Because of the contacts I formed throughout my internship, I was offered a full-time position. Both of those events paved the way for every subsequent chance in my career. Bottom line: if you have an excellent internship opportunity, grab it!
5. Become a member of a student organization
National organizations chartered a lot of student groups. Participating in these organizations may provide you with opportunity to meet individuals outside of your campus. If you were interested in politics, for example, both the College Democrats and the College Republicans would be good places to start networking because these groups frequently have local party politicians speak at their meetings and are considered valuable volunteer resources for political campaigns. If you reach to the top of one of these organizations, you can find yourself on the radar of powerful people.
Don’t limit yourself to student organizations while deciding which organization to join. Many trade organisations provide free or heavily subsidized student memberships. A reduced membership might let you attend conferences or conventions that offer excellent opportunity to network with people in your industry at a lower cost.
6. Make a Free Work Offer
This is not the same as an internship; think of it as working for people or companies for a certain period of time and/or on a specific project rather than on a regular basis like an intern. Charlie Hoehn, an author and business consultant, made his name by giving free his work to important influencers with whom he wanted to establish a connection.
Hoehn claims that:
“Free labor is a very different approach. It gives you the freedom to work in any sector and on any project you wish. There are no dead ends, unlike an internship… Businessmen are ecstatic when they can outsource monotonous jobs to virtual assistants in other countries for a few dollars an hour and get the work back a few days later. Imagine the effect you could make if you did extremely good work for free on important initiatives that demand a creative flare.” — Recession-Proof Graduate (free download from Charlie’s website)
This is related to what was discussed previously about having something of worth to contribute that you may not be aware of. Hoehn developed strong ties with successful writers like Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi using this easy “free work” method. Not bad for a person who had previously applied to over 100 firms and received no employment offers!
If you do offer to labor for free, be sure your expectations are acceptable. When you aren’t compensated, it might be difficult to follow through, so don’t take on more than you can do. It’s preferable not to volunteer at all than to pledge to labor for free and then abandon your commitment halfway through. Also, be certain that your time performing free labor is restricted. Keep in mind that you have something valuable to contribute, and your time and work are worth more than simply experience.
7. Make contact with the parents of your friends and follow up.
Your friends’ parents could know someone who works in the field you want to get into. If you don’t already have a relationship, have your acquaintances introduce you and then ask for their opinions on your job route. Most experts are happy to provide advise on their field of expertise to interested college students, particularly if you demonstrate ability and willingness.
However, if you want your friends’ parents to assist you in more tangible ways, you must offer them a cause to do so. “Even if your best friend’s father is the ideal contact with all the connections,” Stewart, the CEO of College Works Painting, adds, “he will do nothing for you until you do something for yourself.” “You have to demonstrate that you are the guy for whom they should perform a favor.” Your friend’s father isn’t going to stand up for you if you don’t have anything to stand on that demonstrates you’re a mover and shaker with integrity and a solid moral basis.”
8. Get to Know Your Professors and Administrators in College
Another wonderful resource for you is your lecturers and university authorities, but only if you seek them out.
A few months back, an engineering student named Ben approached me, saying he wanted to develop a connection with his college’s president and asking for suggestions on how to do so during her “office hours.” I recommended he offer to provide her insight into college life from the standpoint of a student, which would definitely be useful to the school president.
He contacted me with the findings a few months later:
“The president turned out to be an outstanding person, and just interacting with her taught me a lot about having a forceful yet personal appeal. She provided me some sound career advise and got me in touch with a friend of hers who may help me get a terrific internship.
In conclusion, it was a fantastic gathering that allowed me to be motivated and educated as I prepare to enter the job. I was anxious about setting up a meeting and wasn’t sure what I’d say, but I felt I had to do something, so I did.”
None of this would have occurred if Ben hadn’t had the confidence to approach the president and arrange a meeting. Because so few kids use this method, if you do it, you will almost certainly become a lifelong friend and champion.
Networking Is a Long-Term Investment
Finally, it’s critical to recognize that cultivating connections, like paying tuition, is an investment in yourself. If you put yourself out there and consciously spend time in other people — from working professionals to fellow students to your university president — you will see a return on your investment over time.
Confidence begins with the first step, so go out there and start making connections. “Lawyers, suppliers, and business partners will be your college mates. “They’ll bring you bargains,” Stewart adds. “Having fun is vital, but so is projecting the idea that you have your act together, that you’re compassionate, and that you have solid moral beliefs.”
Finally, whatever you do, don’t pick up the phone if No Pay Ray calls.
Listen to our podcast with John on how to improve your networking:
Listen to our podcast with John on how to improve your networking:
Want to improve your networking conversations? Get a free copy of my 25 Easy Conversation Starters for Networking in College report, which is only available to Art of Manliness subscribers.
John Corcoran is a former Clinton White House writer and the founder of Smart Business Revolution, a website where he offers tips on how to increase your income by improving your business connections.
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