College Networking

College Networking


This is when building contacts begin, and there it’s never too early to start. Some of the most influential people met this year will be integral to the college experience for the next four years, as they will watch you grow and change over that time. Here’s how to start cultivating those connections.

  • Set networking goals for each semester Having a clear goal in mind can make a long road seem much more manageable. Choose personal goals for networking that go all the way up to the senior year and possibly beyond. This might be as simple as how many people you will meet each year or what clubs you will join.
  • Work on your people skills Striking up a conversation with a stranger doesn’t come naturally to everyone. This year, make a point of stepping out of the comfort zone and becoming more extroverted. Rehearse how you will say hello and have a few talking points in mind.
  • Don’t pick and choose Now is the time to network with everyone and anyone. Don’t narrow down the options – a lot can change in four years, including dreams, goals, and career plans. Now is the time to spread a very wide net and catch a huge variety of contacts.
  • Consider a fraternity or sorority Greek organizations are often tight-knit and wind up creating a sisterhood or brotherhood that lasts a lifetime. Fellow members are often willing and able to lend a hand when college is over and the career begins.
  • Be curious Everyone has an interesting story to tell. Ask about their ambitions, their family, where they come from, and where they are going. View networking as a powerful tool for a future career – but also as a way to make friends with some of those contacts.


The awkward freshman year is over and now college students have settled into a routine. They are also more prepared to consider what they might want to do in the future, which means networking becomes much more targeted. Here are networking plans to make for the second year.

  • Get out there getting face time with your network is extremely important. Not only is it much easier to remember someone who has actually smiled at you and shaken your hand, but it also forms a more intimate connection that could be quite important one day.
  • Meet one new person each day Make a point of saying hello to one new person each day. This deceptively simple practice not only builds your contacts naturally, but it serves as a nice way to show you are interested in the community around you. It’s also great to work on those people skills mentioned earlier.
  • Become more active in clubs Now is the time to start showing up more often at club meetings, choosing clubs that are more closely related to a particular major, or joining groups that will offer a boost to future goals, such as a group for young professionals on campus.
  • Look for internships Working for a company that fits the ultimate career goal is something to strive for right now, as it will provide ample opportunity to network with those in the business. Student placement services can be a huge help with this step.
  • Consider informational interviews Also known as an informational conversation, these are meetings with potential employers, mentors, or other professionals who can provide a wealth of information on their professional life. Conducting information interviews allows a student to learn more about the field they want to pursue while networking.


Now that the major is chosen, it’s time to add more network contacts that pertain to your future goals. Professors, advisors, mentors, and internships are all going to take center stage this year. Here’s how to move forward.

  • Evaluate what you’ve done so far Take a hard look at how networking has gone so far. Did you meet your goals? There were a few places that fell short? What could be improved? Revise your game plan and move forward.
  • Develop a strong resume Though networking might be the best way to land a great job, the resume matters, too. Take the time this year to work with the student placement office in creating a resume that will properly reflect your strengths.
  • Take your search online Don’t forget that networking can happen online, too. Now is a great time to create that LinkedIn profile, cultivate a Twitter and Facebook presence, and otherwise use social media to build a good reputation.
  • Step up the informational interviewing Target those companies and businesses that matter most to the job search and interview a variety of individuals at several levels. Ask intelligent questions and be sure to keep in touch afterward with a thank-you note.
  • Create a networking card Make it easy for others to find your information with a networking card. Much like a business card, this will have your email address, phone number, and any other contact information that might be helpful to others.


Now is the time to put the networking from the past three years to good use. This year students will start seriously looking for a job within their chosen profession, and all of those contacts can come into play to help make that happen. Here’s how to move forward.

  • Touch base with all your contacts At this point, it’s time to get in touch with everyone you have networked with over the last several years. From a simple hello via email to a “can we meet for lunch” catch-up request, you should be quite busy with reaching out.
  • Get matched with a mentor If you’re lucky, you have already found someone who truly wants to help you. If not, speak to your student services department about mentor-matching services they might offer.
  • Narrow down your employment options Starts looking seriously at the companies you want to work for and make a point of getting in touch with your contacts there. Make your desire to work there very clear.
  • Join professional organizations Get involved with organizations that represent your chosen profession, including national associations and local branches. If they have networking opportunities, make a point of engaging in those.
  • Dive into the working world If all goes well, by now you will have a degree in hand and a job lined up. No job yet? Step up your networking efforts while you look.