Insights from BCC Research

The College Student’s Guide to Networking

Incorporate Networking into your Daily Routine
Start building networking into your daily activities, classes or jobs on campus. Consistently engage with your professors and other students by participating in your classes. Your professors and fellow students can be the most valuable resources when it comes to job hunting.

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You never know if a former professor or a classmate will have a connection to your dream job or graduate program!

Sometimes networking with students may be a little uncomfortable: here are three tips to help ease this tension.

  1. Ask other students in your major or interest of study what they plan on doing post-graduation. If your post-graduate interests align with theirs, you may be able to ask if they know of any connections in the industry.
  2. Ask if they have had an internship related to what you’re interested in. If this internship interests you, ask this student if you could reach out to their former supervisor.
  3. If you know of students who have parents or other family members in your industry of interest, ask for their contact information or connect with them via LinkedIn.

Create a LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is considered a professional social networking platform. Statistics from 2018 demonstrate that 50% of college students use LinkedIn. Research also found that 20,000 companies use LinkedIn to recruit job candidates. 

LinkedIn allows employers to skim through your profile to get a better understanding of your professional life. It’s also valuable to be active on LinkedIn because you can connect with other students from your college, including alumni.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to college alumni. They’re typically willing and eager to help current students!

Linkedin Hack
If you’re researching a specific company, be sure to click on the company’s LinkedIn profile. On the right side of the screen, it will show you the connections you have to that company. It’s important to then contact these connections because they can provide you with more information about the company.

If you need some help on how to draft an email to a connection you found via LinkedIn, consider this template below.

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,
My name is xx and I am a (sophomore/junior/senior etc...) studying at xx and majoring in xx. When I was looking at company xx on LinkedIn, I came across your profile and saw that you are a xx graduate, like me.

I did some research on your company, and I am very interested in the xx position listed. Is there a time where we could schedule a phone call to discuss this position further? I am available either on Date at Time, or Date at Time. Let me know if any of those times work for you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks again,
Your First/Last Name

Visit your Career Development Center
Your on-campus career development center is full resources to jumpstart your professional life, as the staff provides you with individualized guidance and advice on your job search.

Developing a relationship with your school’s career development center is crucial because they can connect you with alumni who work in your industry of interest.

Make an appointment to your career development center at least once per semester to ensure that you’re updated on internship opportunities and job search tips.

Attend Networking Events
Check the event schedule on your school’s career development website. Networking events are also posted on list-serves from your major department as well. You can also follow your school and your major department on social media to stay updated on the event schedule.

Networking events can take many forms. You can either attend these events on your campus where company representatives and alumni are invited. Or, these events can either be hosted by your school in cities throughout the country where students, alumni and parents are also invited.

How to stand out at networking events

  1. Dress to impress—it’s important to look presentable and dress professionally.
  2. Introduce yourself to at least three company representatives—ask for their business cards.
  3. Behave like a professional—smile, shake hands and make eye contact during every conversation you have.

Follow-up Email Template
How to email someone you met at a networking event:

Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name (or however they addressed themselves to you at the event),
My name is xx and I am a (sophomore/junior/senior etc...) majoring in xx. We met at xx event, and I really enjoyed our conversation.

It was interesting to learn more about your company and I believe that I would be a competitive candidate in the xx position you mentioned.

Is there a time where we could schedule a phone call to discuss this position further? I am available either on Date at Time, or Date at Time. Let me know if any of those times work for you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks again,
Your First/Last Name

Interested in working for company that doesn’t have open positions right now? Use this template:

Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name (or however they addressed themselves to you at the event),

My name is xx and I am a (sophomore/junior/senior etc…) majoring in xxxxxx. I really enjoyed our conversation at the recent event at xx.

It was interesting to learn about your company and your role there. I know you mentioned that there are not currently any available positions in xx, but I would love to continue our conversation about the xx industry as a whole. I was wondering if we could still schedule a phone call?

I am available either on Date at Time, or Date at Time. Let me know if any of those times work for you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks again,
Your First/Last Name

Get Involved on Campus
Participating in clubs, sports or other activities on campus is a great way to meet other students and faculty, and to strengthen your resume. Being active on campus will also help broaden your interests and potential opportunities to develop a career path.

Try to participate in at least two extra-curricular activities throughout your time on campus.

Contact Professors
It’s crucial to cultivate relationships with your professors personally and professionally because they can help connect you with alumni or others they know in your industry of interest.

It’s also essential to network with professors because they can write you a letter of recommendation. Maintaining consistent communication will speak highly of your character and ambition, which demonstrates to professors that you're deserving of a good recommendation.

Click here for tips on networking with your professors.

Written by Daniella Pascucci on Dec 6, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Daniella is our Academic Insights Strategist and a current senior at Bates College. She writes about challenges facing college students and tangible ways students can thrive in their academic and professional lives.

Topics: Academic Institutions