Networking 101: Getting Your Name Out There
Networking is an important part of job hunting, and college is a great place to start making lifelong connections. As a student, this is your time to introduce yourself to professionals in your field and reach out to as many people as possible. Networking can be difficult when you are new to campus and do not know anyone- especially during a pandemic. In this article, I will be going over some great ways to branch out and start making connections.
The first step in networking is to be confident in yourself. When you are talking to anyone new, it is important to remind yourself that you can do it. When you are confident in yourself, it will show others that you know your self-worth. This shows recruiters and future employers that you believe in your abilities and will stand out from the crowd. Remember people can not believe in you if you do not believe in yourself.
Be open to starting a conversation anywhere. Connections can come through a classmate that you sit next to or from someone you talk with in line when you are getting lunch. Sometimes connections come from strangers you just met, so don’t limit yourself when it comes to networking. The more open you are to talking to people, the bigger your network will get and the more it will benefit you in the long run.
A good way to start making connections is by joining organizations on campus. You already know of CWIB, which is a great start! Look at other organizations that are related to your major or greek life. This can help you branch out and find more people that are in the same field as you or have similar interests.
GobblerConnect is a great resource that you can use to look through all of the different organizations and greek life Virginia Tech has to offer. There, you can contact a student involved in the organization to learn more about it and any upcoming interest meetings. Remember too, that Gobblerfest is always at the beginning of the new semester. There you can meet organizations’ representatives and ask any questions you may have. Also, asking your in-major professors about organizations related to your field is another good way to find organizations that may interest you.
Virginia Tech has organizations for a reason; they are here to help you connect with students that have interests similar to yours. Becoming involved in an organization is a great way to find out how other students are using their resources and making connections. You can also find alumni from these organizations and reach out to them for advice.
Guest speakers are also often invited to speak to classes and organizations. When guests visit, ask questions during and after their presentations. After their visit, make sure to connect with them on LinkedIn, then you can follow up with them after adding them to your network.
You can also contact them again if you have questions down the line. These guest speakers are usually happy to help you and share their knowledge and experience.
Another resource that Virginia Tech offers students are career fairs. Business Horizons is an event where you can talk to recruiters from a wide range of companies around the country. This is a great way to network and get your name out there. Any VT student can attend. And, even if you do not land an internship or job, you are still able to get your name out there for future career fairs.
Throughout the school year, Pamplin Career Connect hosts workshops and interest sessions that feature companies like Deloitte and EY. Anyone can attend these workshops and interest sessions, which are still happening during the pandemic through Zoom. They are good opportunities for you to get help on your resume, learn more about a company, and connect with the employees who attend. Many who attend are hokie alumni, who will be more than happy to talk with you about their experience working for their company and how they got there.
Virginia Tech also offers help with their Career and Professional Development website. Any VT student can access the site to find information related to career building, the website allows you to connect with advisors about your future career. It also has a place where you can get help with your resume and with finding a mentor.
LinkedIn is also an easy tool to use to create your own profile and make contact with others. This website allows you to connect with anyone else that has a profile, it is a great way to find alumni from Virginia Tech who work at companies you are interested in. Connecting with alumni allows you to get advice from someone who is already working in the field that interests you. It can be beneficial to know someone who is already established at the place you want to work as well.
As a Virginia Tech student, you have access to Handshake. This website is similar to LinkedIn, in that you can connect with future employers and apply for jobs. Handshake makes it easy to contact other Hokie students and alumni to ask any questions or to stay in touch.
This website can help any student to connect with others through events that Virginia Tech hosts, ask for advice from people working at a featured company, and apply for any job on the website.
College is the perfect place to start networking and get a foot in the door to the job of your dreams. With all of the resources available at Virginia Tech, along with online networking sites, starting your professional network is easier than ever. Remember that you’ve got this and that putting your name out there will benefit you in the long run. You are in charge of your future, so make the most of the resources you have and connect with people that interest you.
By Meng Hembrey