Top dog, head honcho, the big cheese, senior. All of these guys and girls know exactly what they’re talking about after three years of experience. Don’t know how to extend your network? They’re here to help!
J.P. ‘The Rocket Scientist’ Muncks, aerospace engineering, University of Virginia: Muncks says, “the most important thing is to be outgoing. Go to those networking events that you’re invited to on Facebook, even if it’s right in the middle of happy hour at the local bar. Meet people other than just your boss at your internships, even though it may be easier to just sit at your desk and do your work. Introduce yourself to your professors rather than just letting yourself become lost as a number in the class. Every new person you meet is an addition to your network, and they could each be the key to helping you land that next internship.”
Laura ‘The World-Changer’ Levitt, broadcast journalism, Elon University: “If you have an opportunity to go to a meet-and-greet with professionals, do it,” says Levitt. “This is where your advisors and professors help out a ton—they know people in the industry, and if you have a good relationship with your advisors then they’ll introduce you to everyone. When you are around professionals, don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself. If you know they work in the field that you want to enter, walk up and tell them who you are and that you know they work in the industry and you’re interested and want their advice. Let them talk about themselves—don’t talk about yourself unless they ask. They’ll like talking about themselves and admire your humility.”
Sheila ‘The Future Doctor’ Razdan, public health studies, Johns Hopkins University: “I think that one of the easiest ways to meet people is to join a few clubs. I have met some of my closest friends through extracurriculars! Not only do you meet a lot of students with whom you may not have class, but they will also most likely have similar interests to yours because you enjoy doing the same thing,” says Razdan.
Laura ‘The Ivy-Leaguer’ Morrison, human biology, health and society, Cornell University: “A network takes time to build, so don’t expect things to happen overnight. It is true that sometimes people offer willingly to help you because you went to their alma mater or because they just like what you are saying, but either way, I think the key is acting confident and mak[ing] sure you know what you are talking about. If you don’t know what an answer is, don’t lie…be honest; we aren’t that old, and most of us don’t have THAT much experience to know everything! People will respect your modesty and appreciate you being a genuine communicator.” Morrison adds, “[m]ake sure to thank someone once you have an opportunity to chat with them; it seems simple, but being polite can mean all the difference.”
Kristi ‘The Singer’ Ferguson, biology, Virginia Tech: “Meeting people and expanding your network is one of the most fun and important things you can do during your college career. Some of the people you meet will stay with you for the rest of your li[fe], and if you make a good impression they could really help you in the future! In order to get your name out there, join clubs. Get involved in their leadership roles! Meet people from other majors, and talk to them about jobs and career opportunities. Not only will joining a group help you to network, but it will help you to make new friends! You never know what opportunities will open up when you take the time to get to know different people. So don’t be shy, get out there and socialize,” says Ferguson.
(Photo at http://www.flickr.com/photos/laughingsquid/986542579/)