Thinking about life after college can be intimidating, but starting this process early will help you in your future career. You can’t expect to have a job when you graduate if you don’t start looking now, and that means getting to know people in your industry of choice. Find those with influence and maintain contact with them. Read on for tips to help you with networking before you leave college.
Take Advantage of Temporary Work
The best way to get your name out there is to already be working in the industry. Internships and seasonal jobs offer you an opportunity to do just that. A potential employer gets to see you in action before you apply for a job there later. Consider also the benefits of working part-time while in school. You gain experience in the workplace, figure out what you like (and don’t like) to do, and earn some money for your efforts.
Cold Call/Email Potential Mentors
This intimidating tactic has a lot of upsides. It allows you to reach out to someone you don’t know who could become a mentor or guide you to an internship. This relationship will last after college, giving you a valuable resource as you start out.
Join Collegiate Societies
The best way to network is to be where people are. College clubs and associations give you a place to approach people who share a connection or interest and form life-long friendships. You could meet a future advisor in your new career who later offers you first looks at new products or investment opportunities. The possibilities are endless, but only if you get out and meet people.
Talk with Professors
College offers you access to brilliant academicians whose primary job is to educate students for life after college. Approach a professor who is an expert in a field of interest and learn from him or her. These people can offer insights into their field, a mentorship you will need, and a respected reference when the time comes to apply for that job.
Don’t Forget Your Personal Network
Never underestimate the connections family and friends offer you. Talking to everyone you know about your interests, and listening to theirs, opens doors for networking you didn’t realize you had. Who knew your friend’s uncle is an executive you were considering cold emailing for advice? Your friend did, but you never asked.
Parents have decades of experience in work and life and would love for someone to come learn from them. They also know people they could reach out to with unique experiences you could benefit from.
Be a Student
Alumni and others are much more likely to help a student who contacts them for information on their industry. The advice you receive is going to be different when it’s predicated on the idea that you aren’t applying for a job and just want to gather information.
Wherever you go to school, now’s the time to start networking. After graduation, that contact could land you a job you never thought you could get.