The networking student
Are you a student and wondering how and where to start networking? What do your parents mean when they say you should be “networking” to find a job? Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar or comfortable with student networking. We are going to explain how to network from the comfort of your classroom.
Here at Career Tracker, the staff visits college campuses to help students with resumes and interview skills, and we speak in classes on business, technology, and entrepreneurship on a regular basis. We know plenty of hiring managers that do the same, and the reason they visit schools is always the same. Hiring managers talk on campuses in the hopes of meeting qualified candidates they can recruit to their companies. These hiring managers want to meet a networking student just like you. You didn’t think they were just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, did you? 🙂
Visiting under a guise
When you have guest speakers doing the following, your antennas should go up:
- Providing a “How to” class on interview skills
- Sharing their career background and work history because they work in a related field to the class they are speaking
- Help the professor to bring real-life work experiences to the classroom
We were being facetious above, of course – these professionals take time out of their busy schedules first and foremost because they enjoy giving back to their alma maters, or simply remember someone influential doing the same for them when they were in school. But make no mistake, if they meet a networking student, they will engage and make a connection. The VP of Technology isn’t speaking to an accounting class. They are speaking to a comp-sci class. They know what they are doing!
How does the networking student capitalize?
After the guest speaker is finished talking, 95% of the class will file out of the class and leave unceremoniously. 5% of the class will hang back to say thank you, shake hands and maybe ask a follow-up question.
Of the 5%, there is always three or four students who are engaged, came prepared and did their research on the speaker. These folks introduce themselves and chat for a few minutes. They ask for a business card which they always receive.
Of these 3-4 students who received a business card, one or two will send a thank you email to the speaker that day and arrange a follow-up coffee meeting to establish a more personal connection. They are networking.
Speaker is lonely
Here is the thing. The speaker is eating this up! If they volunteered their time, secretly they would love to praise and approbation for it. By talking to them, you are validating that they did something valuable and helped you. This is the classic situation of a mentor/mentee relationship. These students know how to play the cards they are dealt and they keep in touch, ask for advice and are quick to buy the coffee. They understand networking etiquette. You can bet that when these students graduate, they are getting the right introductions.
Key Takeaway: Use every opportunity to meet new people. Whether it is someone in your parent’s network or a one time speaker at your university.
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