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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Social Media Management 101: Quick and Dirty for Beginners

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Over the past six months, I have been learning the ropes as a social media manager and along my journey I’ve picked up a few quick tips worth sharing. As an entry-level communications professional, it is almost guaranteed that a few of us will end up manning a social media account or two; these days, as a young person, it’s almost unavoidable. Here are some useful tools to get familiar with to help you along your way in your new role as a Social Media Manager:

1) Buffer is a scheduling app (AKA: your new best friend) that will keep you from wanting to rip out your hair. This helpful little app allows you to schedule content for multiple social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Buffer also becomes familiar with the type of content you post and will eventually offer suggested posts for you to plug in when you are at a loss for ideas. If you use the Google Chrome browser, Buffer also has an extension you can download that makes things much easier when you’re browsing and come across content worth posting about. Measure analytics for your multiple social media accounts with Buffer’s built in analytics tool and create impressive graphics for your communications reporting.

2) BuzzSumo is your new savior for generating buzz-worthy content for your platforms. Simply type in the theme or topic you’re hunting for content for and BuzzSumo will track down the most popular articles at the time of your search. Don’t get too excited. This tool will want your money sooner or later. (Note: simply close your browser and reboot, or delete your cookies to search for more.)

3) Twitter’s Lists feature is extremely helpful for curating social media content. Scroll through the accounts you follow and create organized lists based on the industries or interests of the people you follow. Lists are a useful way to filter user content you are scoping out or interesting in catching up with.

4) Feedly: “A single place to read your favorite newspaper, magazines and blogs.” Their tagline basically sums it up. Are you pressed for time and don’t have hours to scroll through the web looking for something worth posting? Feedly’s got your back.

5) Social media blogs keep you up to date and in the know about the latest happenings in the world of social media. Some of my favourite include: Buffer’s blog and Mashable Social Media.

Whether you are looking to pursue social media management as a full-time gig or you have been pigeonholed into it, these tips will hopefully make your new role a little easier. Do you have tools and resources that you think I’ve missed? Add them in the comments!