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5 Things I Learned While Networking in NYC

It’s easy to forget that there is a life after Colby, one that we should start to think about and get ready for. I’m a senior and I spent fall break on a career and networking trek in New York City, learning about the jobs and pathways that are open to me as an Environmental Policy major at Colby. I got to see a lot of NYC, but more importantly picked up a few tips and tricks to share as some of us enter this next phase of life. 

  1. You need a pair of nice shoes.

Networking and career events are all “business casual” – which for girls is the most vague and difficult dress code to figure out. I learned that you can make almost any outfit look business casual with a nice pair of shoes. Even just dark wash black jeans and a nice shirt can look very professional with the right shoes. I recommend black loafers, mules, or ballet flats – but the options are endless. Second to a pair of nice shoes is a pair of black pants (ideally not jeans) but focus on shoes first. Everyone needs a nice pair of shoes for career events in college. 

     2. Take any opportunity to write and speak. 

Communication skills are so important. We all have the academic skills to get us far, but it’s your writing and speaking skills that will really get you where you want to go. Having an idea or a passion without being able to effectively communicate it is useless. Spend time at Colby writing when you don’t have to (Her Campus!), getting writing help, and taking public speaking opportunities no matter how scary. This will help you so much in the future!

     3. Your resume needs a fun fact. 

One of the best pieces of advice I received over the weekend was during a mock interview when a Colby alumni asked me what I do for fun. Being taken aback, my answer was dull, and he said “I wish you had told me you played violin or something”. Of course it doesn’t have to be violin or even an instrument, but what will set you apart? What will make your GPA, internships, and career interests stand out? 

     4. Practice your interview stories

9/10 times you will need to draw on a story during an interview. This might be “tell us about a problem you solved” or “tell us about something you’re proud of.” My advice – Google interview questions and start brainstorming the stories you want to tell about yourself. Gather some specifics, make it humorous and humble, and make sure it portrays your character or interests in a way that you want. 

     5. Make a list of companies and businesses you like. 

Most likely, senior year will come along and you will forget every “dream job” and moment of inspiration you have felt – no matter how significant it feels in the moment. I wish I had kept a list of companies, internships, research positions, etc so that I could refer to that now when thinking about where I want to apply for a job after Colby. Start this list now! Is there a magazine you love, or a business’s instagram account? Write it down. More likely than not they do have jobs and they will be hiring. Keep them in mind. 

Remember there is life after Spa quesadillas and late nights in Miller. The more you know now, the less stressful it will in the future. Happy networking! 

Environmental Policy major and certified VSCO girl.
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