Networking Skills Should Begin in College

Get Hired Fast - networking skillsIs a college education worth the skyrocketing cost of earning a four-year degree? It could be, if you begin developing your networking skills while working toward that degree.

That’s the message from Arnie Fertig, the owner of a recruiting company. Fertig, writing a post for the U.S. News & World Report blog, said that your college years is actually a good time to develop a business network that you can rely on to help you land a job once you’ve graduated.

Nervous College Students

College students today are understandably nervous about their post-college job prospects. College tuitions are soaring, with many undergraduates leaving school with tens of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt.

Then comes the challenge of searching for a job. Many students look nervously at the country’s still-too-high unemployment rate of 7.9 percent and wonder if their four-year degree will be any advantage in the job market.

Fertig’s answer? It might not be if students don’t also boost their networking skills while attending classes.

The Power of Networking

A job search is easier when you can network with business associates. These business leaders can clue you in to hot job leads that haven’t been advertised on online job boards or newspaper classified sections. They can write you personal letters of recommendation. They might even set up face-to-face meetings with hiring managers and recruiters working in your field.

But to take advantage of this tool in your efforts to find a new job, you have to build that network. And you must do this while in college.

On-Campus Networking

Fortunately, as Fertig writes, there are plenty of opportunities for college students to network while on campus.

There are on-site conferences, business-networking events, and job fairs. Business leaders often come to campus to participate in workshops or to give talks. And the communities surrounding many colleges have active chambers of commerce that hold their own business events.

By attending these events and handing out business cards – yes, even college students should have business cards, according to Fertig’s column – you’ll slowly start to create relationships in the business world.

It’s important, too, for college students to take on internships, even unpaid ones, so that they can meet business leaders in their field. They should volunteer for community organizations. You never know where you might mean a local leader who can help you in your job search.

Are you in need of networking tips? Sign up for our Get Hired Boot Camp today. Our career experts will give you the advice you need to thrive in today’s often-challenging jobs market.

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