How to Navigate Networking in College

Networking can be really tricky in college, especially now with constant transitions between in-person and online events and information sessions with recruiters and high level executives. With these changes happening so rapidly, it can be confusing when it comes to figuring out effective techniques for creating a network . In this article, we will be covering four tips that can help you do exactly that, while in this whirlwind of unpredictability.



Tip #1: Utilize School Resources


The Pamplin College of Business provides a variety of resources that can aid with networking for college students. On the PCOB website, services such as advising, virtual workshops, and a Career Connect Newsletter are provided.

  1. Advising - This allows you to speak with your personal advisor or other PCOB students to gain their perspective, understand how they initiate and stay in contact with the people they are meeting, and find even more resources through their advice.

  2. Virtual Workshops - PCOB hosts and posts previous workshops for students to attend. Workshops are one of the best ways to hone in on skills and develop an understanding of what you want to improve upon. Using these workshops can be an invaluable tool to improve on your networking abilities.

  3. Career Connect Newsletter - This weekly newsletter includes employer opportunities, programs, and events that could be of interest to students. This is a source that can help you get connected with coordinators and company networks for more information, internships & externship possibilities, and job interviews. Email pcobcareers@vt.edu if you are not receiving this weekly newsletter.

In addition to these three, the Pamplin College of Business sends a daily email regarding events, company visits, job postings, and other opportunities that are happening throughout the week. This is an excellent way to stay informed about what is going on within the college of business and tailor the information to your needs. For more information, visit Student Resources | Pamplin College of Business | Virginia Tech (vt.edu).




Tip #2: Connect with Professors


Professors are an excellent resource for growing your network. Oftentimes, they have worked in their industry and have a wide set of connections from their time out in the field. Speaking to them about your interests, goals, and ideas will allow them to provide you with the appropriate information to reach out to the people they believe can help you be successful. With that being said, make an effort to talk to your professors after class, connect with them on professional networking sources, and stay in touch with them, even if you are no longer enrolled in their classes.




Tip #3: Connect with Alumni


Previous Virginia Tech students, CWIB alumni and others included, are extremely resourceful. As always, Hokies help Hokies! VT alumni have gone through similar experiences searching and applying for internships, and once they succeeded in obtaining one, have gathered a collection of people for their network. They will be able to help lead you in the right direction for what you are looking for. To get started, join the CWIB Alumni & Members Only LinkedIn with the following link: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12444548/.




Tip #4: Understand the importance of LinkedIn


One thing you’ll begin to learn is the importance of LinkedIn and how it can be of use to you. Ingeus Regional Manager Sarah Rycraft states seven benefits of using LinkedIn.


She claims that those seven benefits are:

  1. Gain exposure to hiring managers and recruiters - 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to recruit potential employees.

  2. Demonstrate your knowledge, credibility, and leadership expertise - employers have access to your skills, applications, awards, and mutual connections.

  3. Use LinkedIn as a research tool - you can use company LinkedIn pages as a source of information prior to getting in contact with recruiters, companies, and alumni.

  4. LinkedIn has a great job board - directly apply for positions through this source.

  5. Gain social proof for your skills and talents - skill endorsements, testimonials, and certifications are all available.

  6. Follow companies - once again, this serves as a research tool.

  7. Join LinkedIn groups - stay in contact with people you are reaching out to, meet people with similar interests, and grow your network with alumni of organizations and schools you were part of.


Hopefully using these four key tips will help you kickstart your college networking journey! Remember to be confident, put yourself out there, and keep trying!


By Ananya Kanuparthy