Power Networking Blog

Friday, 03 February 2017 08:31

How do I expand my professional network in college?

My first suggestion would be to take the word ‘college’ out of the equation. You may be currently attending college, but that is only one aspect of the potential network you have to connect with.

Don’t discount the value of networking with family, friends, neighbours, businesses and community resources that you frequent. Potential connections are all around us if we keep our eyes open to opportunity.

One of the challenges that I see with networking in colleges, universities etc. is that many of the students don’t see the value of networking. They may not have any experience in the art of networking or they may be just too focussed on their studies.

This may mean that one of your first tasks in networking would be to educate the other person on the value and benefits of networking.

There are several skills involved in networking with professionals. One of them is to have your ‘spidey sense’ on high alert to potential people to connect with.

Combining your awareness with a tool such as Linkedin to organize can help build your network of connections. If you haven’t already, create a professional profile on Linkedin. This isn’t like a Facebook presence, so avoid any partying pics that you would regret posting.

After you meet someone at a social mixer of some sort, follow up with them by sending them an invite to join your professional network on Linkedin and in the real world.

Speaking of social mixers, I would suggest researching what clubs or social groups exist within the college structure that would provide you opportunity to socialize and network. Clubs like Toastmasters can be a great way to hone your speaking skills, build your self-confidence and network with like-minded individuals.

Don’t rule out connecting with your instructors/professors.

Power Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly! by Rae StonehouseI go into quite a bit more detail in a downloadable e-book that I wrote. Power Networking for Shy PeopleTips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!outlines a strategy for effective networking whether you are shy or not.

Good luck with building your network!

Question originally answered on Quora.com

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