3 Tips to Building Your Network While in School

“It’s not about what you know, but who you know.”

If I had a dollar for every time someone had said this to me, I probably wouldn’t owe as much as I do in student debt. As much as I would like to believe my existing network of friends or my GPA will be able to help ease my way into the workforce, it’s probably not going to happen.

The reality is, networking is almost unavoidable these days. You feel the pressure in your classrooms, in career advisors office, through pedway posters on campus and for some of you — even your parents.

As if it weren’t enough, now not only do you have to maintain your grades, work a part-time job, and keep your friends from asking if you’re still alive, you should be connecting on LinkedIn, attending professional mixers and searching out the next networking event.

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The truth is there are other ways you can “network” without having to awkwardly introduce yourself to the random stranger by the food table at the next event. Here are 3 tips to help you build your network while you are trying to balance being a student and remembering to shower.

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Connect with your professors: not sure what you want to do when you’re finished your program? Have a quick chat with your professors! These are your people. By now they may be familiar with your work ethic, how you work with others and your strengths. They may even keep you in mind when an internship opportunity or job opening comes under their radar.

Speak up in class: Some classes work hard to invite industry professionals to guest lecture or present. Close your laptop and pay attention. Most of these guest speakers have taken time from their day to chat with you; they may even be scoping to hire a student for part-time work during the summer.

Make new friends while you’re here. Expand your network by getting involved on campus, not only will this help connect you to others but will help build your experience with networking in the future. Who knows, maybe your new friends can hook you up with a shiny new job when you’re done!

Well, there you have it folks! A few networking tips to get you connected and if you’re lucky, maybe even hired!

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