Networking is one of the most important skills for a college student to learn. Whether you plan on pursuing a career in business or public service, networking is key to getting ahead. But it can be difficult for college students to get started with networking if they don’t know where to begin—especially when their lives are already so busy! Fortunately, there are many different ways that students can start growing their networks right now. In this guide we’ll discuss some basic tips and strategies for getting started on your path towards building up a strong professional network while still in college.
Networking is more than just meeting people.
Networking is more than just meeting people. It’s about building relationships, helping others and sharing information. Networking is also about learning and making connections with people who have the same interests as you do.
Know your networking goals.
- Know your networking goals.
- Know who you want to network with.
- Know how you’re going to approach them, what you are going to say and how you will follow up after the event.
Build a strong personal brand.
A strong personal brand is the basis of your success in the job market, and it can be built even while you’re still in college. A personal brand is a collection of attributes that define who you are as a person, including:
- Your name
- Your face (or image)
- Your voice (how people perceive the way you speak)
A good way to think about building your personal brand is by considering what makes up each part of your identity–and then highlighting those strengths as much as possible. For example, if one of your strongest attributes is being friendly and approachable, make sure that comes across through how others see and interact with you on campus. If another strength is being hardworking or detail-oriented, then show off this quality through taking on leadership roles or doing well at schoolwork assignments.
Create and maintain your community.
Once you’ve identified your community, it’s time to start building it. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Get involved in campus clubs and organizations. These can be very helpful for finding like-minded people who share your interests, as well as providing opportunities to meet new people and make friends outside of class.
- Join a sports team or fitness club (if applicable). Sports teams often have their own social groups and get-togethers where members can hang out outside of games or practices. And if you’re looking for exercise buddies, there are plenty of ways to meet people through gyms and other fitness centers around campus!
- Start conversations with strangers in places like libraries or dorm lounges–and keep them going until they become friends! Don’t worry about being awkward because everyone was once awkward themselves; instead focus on having fun while meeting new people through these initial conversations.”
Get out of your comfort zone.
You don’t have to be the most outgoing person in the world to network, but you do have to be willing to put yourself out there. You can start by going to events that are related to your career goals, or ones that you simply find interesting. Then once you’re comfortable with the idea of networking, look for other opportunities–maybe even ones outside of your comfort zone!
Be honest and open about what you want, but also be clear about what you’re not looking for too.
It’s important to be honest and open about what you want, but also be clear about what you’re not looking for too. For example, if you’re looking for a job, but not willing to relocate (or willing only under certain conditions), then say so.
This isn’t just good advice for networking events; it applies in any situation where people are trying to sell themselves or their ideas: think about how many times someone has told me that they’re “open” before telling me exactly how open they really are!
Give before you get by doing things like helping others with their projects or starting up conversations with strangers at events or parties.
- Give before you get by doing things like helping others with their projects or starting up conversations with strangers at events or parties.
- Be helpful and generous. Share your knowledge and expertise, be a good listener, ask questions and listen to the answers; be a good storyteller (ask for advice) and show gratitude.
The best way to build strong professional relationships is to give before you get
The best way to build strong professional relationships is to give before you get. In other words, don’t focus on yourself and your own career advancement; instead, focus on helping others succeed.
This can be done in many ways:
- Be a giver, not a taker. If someone asks for your help or advice, offer it freely without expecting anything in return.
- Be a connector rather than just another networker who only wants people’s contact information so they can add them onto their list of connections later on down the road when they need something from them (that’s called “tapping”). Instead of focusing all of your efforts on building up your own network alone while ignoring everyone else around you–and then expecting those people whose names have been added onto yours will help further develop yours–be someone who genuinely cares about others’ success as well as their personal growth outside work hours as well!
Networking is a great way to get ahead in your career and make connections with people who can help you along the way. It can be intimidating at first, but with some practice and patience, anyone can learn how to network professionally. The key is being honest about what you want out of each interaction while also being clear about what you’re not looking for too (like jobs or favors). The best way to build strong professional relationships is by giving before asking anything in return: helping others with their projects or starting up conversations with strangers at events or parties!