It’s not about what you know, but it’s about who you know. One of the best and worst parts about college is that it does not always matter if you’re the top of your class graduating with honors.  It is so valuable to meet influential people along the journey.

There are copious amounts of college students leaving with a degree and debt. Can you imagine working so hard, staying up late, studying for all of those tests, preparing all those speeches and having no money just to leave college you have a good chance of entering in the “real world” without a job.  You meet people who could potentially have an effect on your future. Here are 5 important networking tips to help you land that future dream job or amazing internship:

1) Stay in touch and build relationships with connections. This is not a hard idea. We go to coffee with friends, we go out on the weekends, and so why not take 5-10 extra minutes to send an email and keep in touch with someone who could be your future boss or assist in landing an internship you have been dying for.  Keeping in touch and being supportive to your connections is crucial. 

2) Don’t wait until it is too late. Senior year of college is not a good time to start trying to build your network. If you think waiting until graduation to actively start building your network will pay off, you’re wrong. There are plenty of chances to network in college. Go talk to your professors and advisers.  Attend seminars.  Talk to club leaders. Waiting is not helping.

3) Always be prepared with business cards or an “elevator pitch.” Networking can happen just about anywhere. The coffee shop, the food lounge, or *literally* elevators are all possible places where you can meet someone who might change your life. Make sure that you are prepared for any potential opportunities that may arise.

4) Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Are you checking your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for what’s on there? You better bet potential employers are checking your social media channels. With this in mind, always be careful about what you are posting. When I was in middle school there was a saying we made fun of that said, “Pause before you post,” but now I understand how important that saying really is.

5) Go out of the box.  If you think connections are only valuable if they are in your field or line of expertise, you’re wrong. Think how many people you know, now think about how many people they know. It is the same way with networking. If you make a lasting impact on someone then you do not know who they may have connections with. Do not limit yourself.

As someone who is almost done with college, I can say that networking confidently is extremely important. Just because you are a straight A student does not always land you the job. Do yourself a favor, meet people and building lasting relationships with them.  You never know where it could lead you. 

Kelci W