Top 10 Career Networking Tips for College Students

College is the ideal time to start career networking because you have so many opportunities to connect. Image Copyright Getty Images Hero Images

Although the college experience is largely about academics, those four formative years are also the prime time to jump start your professional development. If you make smart moves while you're still an undergraduate, you'll have an easier time when it comes time to find a job after graduation. Here are the top 10 tips for networking in college.

Top 10 Career Networking Tips for College Students

Stop in to your school's career services office.

Your first stop should be your college's career services office. Don't end your college career without taking advantage of the assistance you can get through your school - from resume help to alumni networking, your campus career services is a great way to jumpstart your job search, from first year to last.

Actively engage in your classes. When it comes to classes relevant to your major, don't just sit in the back with your eyes half-closed and only one ear open. Make yourself known to the professor: sit up front, ask questions, and attend his or her office hour sessions. Professors often have tons of connections - from colleagues in the field to former students - and if you establish a positive relationship with your teachers, they can become valuable resources in your job search later on.

Reach out to other faculty and staff. Don't limit yourself to professors that you have classes with.

If there's somebody in your department who you think might be able to offer career advice or help you land an internship or a job, you have nothing to lose by shooting him or her a friendly email and asking to arrange a time to meet casually and chat about your career path.

Use LinkedIn. Once you've made those connections, keep them.

LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with professional contacts, so make sure you make an active effort to keep your profile updated. Setting up a personal website is another good addition to your online presence.

Talk to recent graduates. Although professors and professionals are valuable resources for advice, people who are a few years out of school are helpful, too. After all, job searching has changed a lot even in the past decade, so talking to people who are fresh into the work world can bring a whole new perspective to your jobsearch. Here's how to connect with your college alumni network. In addition, LinkedIn has a tool which users can use to access employment information for alumni from their college.

Take advantage of networking events. If your college offers alumni networking events, make an effort to attend - and be serious about it. Dress the part, and carry a few resumes with you too, because you never know who you might encounter. Keep your eye out for profession-specific events or job fairs in your area, too. Here's how to make the most out of college alumni networking events.

Do an internship - and take it seriously. An internship gets your foot in the door - and even if it doesn't end in a job at that specific company, it can connect you with other opportunities, as well as serving as a reference source in the future.

So, even if you are unpaid, don't just treat your internship as a resume filler. Take it seriously, do your best, and you'll thank yourself after graduation.

Ask for an informational interview. Want to connect with someone at your internship, a professor, or even someone in your field that you admire? Request an informational interview to find out about what they do and how they got there. This can even take place via e-mail or on the phone. Either way, establishing contacts - and maintaining them - creates valuable connections when it comes time to launch your career.

Connect with your company of choice on social media. Do you dream of working for a specific company? Make a point to follow them on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Not only does this imply your interest in a future opportunity, but it's a good way to keep track of job openings.

For example, Huffington Post has a specific Twitter account for employment opportunities, and many companies - small and large - post about when they're hiring on their social media pages.

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