Networking While in College
Posted on March 24, 2014 by Deanna Parkton.
It seems like everyone is talking about networking lately – and for good reason. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of jobs are found through networking. The number might be even higher for internship opportunities since many employers create internship positions to help a student gain experience (especially a student they know).
The idea of networking can be intimidating, especially for college students who haven’t had practice talking about their career interests and goals. It’s a step outside of a comfort zone, which is always scary – but like most things, the more you practice, the more comfortable you get. Start with a simple introduction - share your name, your major and a career interest or goal. Put out your hand to initiate a handshake and you’ll quickly impress everyone you come in contact with! To keep the conversation flowing, ask questions – what do they do for a living, what is a typical day like in their job? What did they do when they were in college that helped their career? What advice do they have for you to break into the industry? What is their favorite part of their job?
Be open to speaking to people from all different types of industries. Many alumni and professionals often share that they never expected to end up in the career they are in now. Sometimes, those who opened themselves up to an opportunity that was a little bit out of their original interest area find that it was a better fit in the long run.
So how do you get started? This week on the DelVal campus, there are opportunities to connect with professionals! On Wednesday, March 19, come to the Spring semester job and internship fair, Career Day anytime from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Moumgis Auditorium to learn about possible career paths and part-time, full-time, internship and volunteer opportunities. After that, come chat with more professionals (including alumni, faculty, staff and community members) at the first annual Branch Out Networking event at 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. (in the Moumgis Auditorium). The Food Industry Club will be serving refreshments and appetizers.
After that, keep talking! Keep in touch with key contacts (collect business cards so that you can follow-up), take advantage of all kinds of campus events (especially the events that professionals will be in attendance at!) join the DelVal Alumni & Student Mentoring / Networking Group on LinkedIn, and ask professors, staff and peers for advice. You just might find yourself as one of the many who secure an opportunity through networking.