Thursday, August 27, 2015

College Student Guide: 5 Tips for Networking

By Naimeesha Murthy
World Education Services

Many college graduates often struggle to find the right job. While the economy is improving, there's still solid competition across all levels and industries. The good news is that you can definitely make yourself stand out from the competition by meeting the right people. 

Here are five tips to help you ace your networking skills:

1. Use LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great way to connect and stay in touch with professional contacts, so make sure you are actively updating your profile. Setting up a personal website to showcase your past work is also a way you can improve your online presence.

Many students make the mistake of waiting until after graduating from college to join LinkedIn. In reality, an increasing number of human resources representatives look at LinkedIn profiles, even for internship applicants. LinkedIn also provides value with its various industry groups, where you can build your network based on common interests, and stay up-to-date on relevant industry information.

2. Attend Events: College students have the exclusive advantage of being able to attend school networking events – so take advantage of this offering! They’re a great way to practice your social skills and meet new contacts.

3. Use Personalized Business Cards: If you're a classic college student, you probably 
don't have business cards at this point. For a nominal amount, you can print your own business cards to market yourself at networking events. 

4. Create and Polish Your “Elevator Pitch:” Your “elevator” speech should include your name, your educational or future career focus, and something interesting about yourself. Keep it short, simple, and compelling.

5. Understand and Apply the 80/20 Rule: In order to build quality relationships with people, it’s important to engage yourself in conversation. Try to make the other person feel significant by asking in-depth questions about them.

The 80/20 rule means that you should try to listen about 80 percent of the time and talk 20 percent of the time. Of course, this is not actually a rule, but it gives you a good balance for having a constructive conversation. 
Further Reading:

• 5 Tips to Help International Students Secure Internships in the U.S. 
• Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: The Importance of Networking
If you follow these simple tips, then you are sure to make a great first impression! 

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