Networking is the act of building relationships and partnerships with business professionals that are capable and interested in helping you further your career goals.
Believe it or not it is never too early in your college career to begin networking and the earlier you begin making connections, the better.
In an article for immigration and education reform advocacy website FWD.us, contributor, Joshua Rodriguez, wrote about struggling in his classes and having a hard time finding an internship the summer after his freshman year of college.
He writes, “Never in my life had I gotten C’s before, and it was difficult to understand why I was struggling in college.” Going into his sophomore year, he realized that he had to take a different approach to his studies and job search. He states this hard truth in the article:
“College shifts the responsibility of education from the teacher and institution to the student. You are in charge of educating yourself and making sure that you are getting what you need”.
The fact of the matter is that whether or not you need assistance in your job search or your classes, this is assistance that you’ll need to seek out yourself.
Who can you include in your network?
- Past employers
- Past and current professors and high school teachers
- Family friends
You can begin forming these connections by asking yourself this question: What do I aim to achieve through my network?
According to Rodriguez, if you’re looking for assistance in your college courses, then your goal might be to build professional relationships with your professors that enable you to feel comfortable asking for their help.
If you’re looking to acquire an internship over the summer, your goal might be to build professional relationships with people that can serve as a reference for a job application.
However, don’t limit your network to people in your immediate social circle. Emily Bennington, owner of Professional Studio 365, an organization that helps students transition into careers post-graduation, suggests, “checking out conferences in your field or your local Chamber of Commerce.”
Don’t be afraid to go out and seek mentors! Start making connections today! Contact your professors or visit the USF Career Success Center for help researching job and internship options.
USF Career Success Center
Tower Hall N204
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Grant, A. (2011, 28 September 2011). 6 ways to network while you’re in college. U.S. News & World Report
Rodriguez, J. (5 April, 2015). Your network is your net worth: Using your network to succeed in college. Retrieved from http://www.imfirst.org/2015/04/networking-in-college/