Growing your Network in College: Simple Steps to Help You Create Connections
You may not realize it, but you have a lot in common with more people than you might think. You might share the same interests, have the same hobby, or even be an alumnus of the same high school. All these unique traits about yourself are resources you can use to create professional connections. These connections could someday be the key to you getting that internship or entry-level job.
Your High School:
People take pride in where they went to high school. It’s where they grew into the adult they are before heading to college. Your high school can be an asset in trying to create connections. First, follow your high school on LinkedIn and have it listed. Check if your school has any specific groups! (Ex: __ business council). Often, these groups exist of alumnus like yourself. For the most part, they are almost always willing to connect. Next, check if your high school has any non-LinkedIn platforms for their alumni. These can be even more helpful and condense everything into one platform. The last thing you can do is use your high school’s alumni director. Reach out to them and ask them to use their database to find contact info on alumnus you are interested in reaching out to.
College school spirit is a trait that people share. Cheering for the same sports teams and supporting the same arts that may be present on campus. Most colleges have alumni groups based in different cities! (Ex: Syracuse alumni in Chicago). These groups are amazing as they greatly condense the exact people that you are hoping to connect with. Use these groups as resources. Even if there is not one of these groups, people with a university in common are often easy connections to make. Especially if they graduated from the same program/major that you are currently studying.
Reach out to these people! With a college or a high school in common, they are much more likely to respond to you over someone else with neither in common.
This is easy to find on LinkedIn. First, find a page of a company you are interested in. Next, click on the “people” tab on their site. A search bar should come up. Here, you can search your university or even high school. This search will show you all people in that company that have that trait in common. Create common ground between the two of you. Find common interests, activities, and even clubs. They are almost always willing to help; they were in your shoes at some point in their lives.
Be kind and respectful in your messages and always follow up. After making these connections, do not be afraid to ask for help with anything at all.
Thank you for reading and best of luck. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn!