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The UnCollege Blog

How to Network Before Graduation

While in school, many college students focus on grades and enjoying the social advantages that a campus provides. That’s perfectly fine, but there are other activities that many students forget to take part in until it’s too late. What’s one of the most overlooked, yet important activities?

Networking.

Though it might seem easy enough to apply to jobs by throwing resumes towards companies you like, it’s unlikely that you’ll land your dream job that way. So what can you do to prepare yourself?

Get On LinkedIn

What might seem like an obvious step is actually a very important one that is worth getting a head start on. LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful networking tool that can connect you with a vast majority of people you know. Even if you haven’t built a far-reaching resume or you don’t have very much experience, it’s better to start early. Since LinkedIn is like Facebook for the working world, most students won’t have too much trouble learning how to get started.

Once you join, it opens up ways to connect with friends, family, and peers, along with any co-workers you’ve had at previous jobs or internships. But LinkedIn is also a great opportunity to follow companies and important people, and keep up to date with what those companies are doing. You can track your friends and grow your network easily by simply keeping in touch.

Talk To Parents

Believe it or not, our parents can be great resources. If you haven’t already, make sure to reach out to them and understand their network and job landscape. On top of that, speak with your friends’ parents as well. Jodi Glickman, author and expert in communications, says it’s extremely important to start building a network early. “You want to build up this stable of resources before you need them, so that when you actually are looking for a job, you can go in and tap in,” she implores. If they’re in your field of interest, odds are, they’ll be willing to give you advice.

Graduates, Too

While parents can be a great resource, those who have recently graduated can be immensely helpful as well. Since they’re currently going through what you’re headed towards, they can be great outlets to help you understand the current perspective. Whether they’re working in your intended field or in something completely different, they can help offer insight into the job search. The market changes often, so it’s important to get multiple viewpoints.

Find an Internship

Internships are one of the most important opportunities you can use to network and gain experience. They offer a few important tools that every student should aim to take advantage of. Interning gives you the chance to meet a lot of dedicated professionals in that field, and will give you a step up when you’re looking for a job later on. It’s an easy way to find contacts, and a great way to improve the skills you already have and learn new ones on the way. Not only that, some companies hire past interns, so making a good impression and doing a great job can lead to a possible job offer.

Use Your School Resources

Whether it’s contacting a favorite faculty member, reaching out to your freshman advisor, or walking into the career services office, using the resources available to you at school can be the best way to network. Since the school is aiming to help you by providing you with advisors and career mentors, there’s no reason not to use them. Oftentimes, they can help you find your path and perfect your resume all in one simple session. Later on, simply staying in touch with these professors or bosses can yield positive results.

Networking means more than just reaching out when necessary. Building a deep network with close relationships spanning multiple spheres is very important, not just for your first job out of college, but also for the rest of your working lifecycle. Friends, family, and coworkers can be great outlets for ideas and opportunities, and including them in your network will be important beyond your graduation date.

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