If you are like any other college student when first searching for a job or internship you come to the realization that you have absolutely zero connections. Well, that is an easy problem to fix and this blog will touch on the three of the best ways to make the connections that you need to get recognized.
Before we begin to discuss strategies to gain connections, one must understand the main component which will assist you in this process and that is confidence. The dictionary defines confidence as the full trust: belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing: belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.
One may ask, without confidence will connections occur and if you never make these connections will you get that dream job or internship? The answers are unclear, but confidence is a major factor in the connection equation. Making connections is a process that is learned and does not always come easily, but with the confidence and a few tips the process can be eased.
One main way to gain connections is through networking events. Networking events can include career fairs, speaking engagements, round table events, and professional associations. Career fairs are one of the more favorable ways to make connections. A career fair can be attended either at your college or other local universities. The goal is to attend multiple career fairs. Look for career fairs with companies that interest you. But remember, an initial career fair will not land you that coveted job or internship. The goal is to make connections, and increase your visibility. Attending networking events can easily give you a leg up on your competition.
Another way to build your connections is through your professor. Professors are always willing to help their students with networking and making that coveted connection. Your professor has experience along with a large network and there is a good chance that they will know someone (whether it be a former student or colleague) in the same field that you are interested in. Connections made through your professor are not limited just to careers/internships. Remember your professor is a connection too. They can provide you with that letter of recommendation connecting you to the graduate school of your dreams or the name of an individual who could lead you to your future career. They have the ability and willingness to assist so why not reach out and talk with them; you would be surprised as to what you could gain.
The final way to make connections is also the newest way. This is through the use of LinkedIn. This is a new online platform that is designed for the business community. It is a form of social networking which allows you the online users create personal profiles, and search for “friends” or “contacts,” creating extensive networks of connections. Online business platforms such as LinkedIn allow those to reach out to business professionals throughout the world via the web from the comfort of your dorm room. There are numerous professional social networks out there which could assist you with making that connection or connections LinkedIn is just one. My advice is to investigate which platform will work best for you and sign up, there is little to lose and many connections to gain!
Connections are an integral part of the business world. With confidence and a little know how, you do have the ability to network, and gain connections needed. You just have to step out of you comfort zone, and do not be shy! As college student you can make the connections need to make you a successful future business professional.