From my one and a half semesters of college so far, I have come to realize one of the biggest assets a student has, especially one in journalism, is networking. We all know how stressful that word is, but it doesn't have to be that complicated. Here are a few ways you can make those important connections in college:
Have a LinkedIn
Even before I made one myself, numerous successful businesspeople I spoke to highly recommended the site. Creating your profile is quick: just add your educational and work experiences, leadership positions, skills and a headshot. Even if you don’t have much work experience yet, adding your school and following a few companies you’re interested in puts you on the map for employers in that field. It’s great for putting yourself out there as a prospective employee. It’s also an easy way to stay connected with people you meet through a professional platform.
Have a website/portfolio
Having some kind of space on the internet to showcase your work is a sure way to get ahead. Especially as a young creator, it is important to have a structured site showing your best work that prospective employers can see. WordPress is probably the simplest platform to use and the free features are more than enough to organize your favorite past articles, art or other work you’ve done.
Don’t be shy!
Many of the recent career-related interactions I had over the summer were sparked by a coworker telling one of our customers that I had recently been accepted to college. This, of course, led to them asking what I would be studying, and then talking about their own career endeavors. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when conversing even in a casual setting because you never know which professional you may be speaking with and whether they’re looking for employees or interns!
Use business cards
I’m getting into the habit of keeping business cards on me at all times. Whether you carry a couple in your wallet/purse or even in your pocket, you never know when you’ll run into someone you may want to share your business information with. It definitely makes you appear more professional and prepared when you pull out a shiny business card with your website and email information on it. Don’t have one yet? There are tons of inexpensive websites to make some and they’re such a great investment.
Send a thank you
Exchanging business cards is one thing, but a surefire way to get someone to remember you is to send the first email! They may not remember you the next day if the interaction ends there, but if you send an email thanking them for sharing their expert knowledge in your field, you may stick out in their mind if you contact them again in the future.