Coming Prepared For Your College’s Networking Events

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With Thanksgiving break having just come and gone along with several familial interactions, it’s getting to be that time — the time for seniors to start freaking out about entering “the real world” in just a few months’ time. There’s a chance your college is hosting some sort of career fair, career symposium, or another networking event. If you’re anything like me, you know you should probably be going to said events, but you just can’t seem to get past one itty bitty detail…how, exactly, does one network? 

It’s not your fault- you’ve been in class for the past three and a half years. Aside from a few discussions here and there about resumes and work-appropriate attire, chances are you haven’t had many networking etiquette chats.

Fortunately, there’s nothing to fear. Because turns out, networking really isn’t that much more than talking, eating, and maybe the occasional business card exchange. However, it’s the way you go about all of the above that could make or break a potential future LinkedIn connection.

1.) Know your own talking points.

How will you introduce yourself? What values and characteristics will be most effectively packaged up into an opening greeting that accurately conveys you as a professional?

2.) Know what to bring.

Something to write with, something to write on, copies of your resume, and a small stack of business cards if you have them. That’s pretty much it.

3.) Know what you’ll ask.

Not only will it be crucial to ask questions that you have about your own goals and aspirations, but it will also be key to ask others about themselves in your interactions throughout the event.

4.) Know that everyone is in the same boat.

While it may be easy to stand in the corner with your plate of hors d’oeuvres, networking will only be as beneficial as you make it. So go ahead, shake a few hands and make a little small talk. Worst case scenario, you’ll end the night having met some new people. Best case scenario, you make connections that could help you down the road in ways that you couldn’t possibly conceive right now.

Have fun and be yourself! Happy networking!

How to Stay Connected After Your Summer Internship

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Your summer internship isn’t just a graduation requirement or class credit to check off your list. Leverage your time spent on the job as an opportunity for your future career. Staying in contact with your summer internship past your tenure allows you to network, furthering your professional experience and potentially keeping your name in the running for a new job. Here are great ideas on how to stay in the loop with your summer internship once you’re back at school.

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1.   Connect via LinkedIn

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps are great for keeping in touch, but they don’t always present your “professional” side. Creating a strong LinkedIn profile will allow you to show your professional side to the world. Connect with coworkers from your internship and use the network to keep in touch. For an even bigger impact, use your LinkedIn page to post relevant information about your career field, such as a news article on advancements in your field. You can even write about your experience at the company (only glowing reports) or start a blog about your intended professional field.

2.   Plan a Post Internship Meeting

Some students might not know what a supervisor thinks of their work until a review with an internship advisor. But that’s because they don’t ask. Don’t wait until then to hear the feedback. Instead, plan a post internship meeting between you and your supervisor once you are back in school. Use the time to discuss your strengths and weaknesses as well as request a way to stay in contact during the school year.

3.   Invite to Important, Relevant Events

Your internship may be what gets you on track for a fulfilling career. The impact of a great mentor cannot be underappreciated. Instead of just sending a thank you card, go the next step and invite them to your important events such as a graduation party or a scholarship awards night. Even if they do not accept, you can still take the opportunity to discuss your accomplishments.

4.   Check-In Regularly

No matter what your plans are, be sure to check-in regularly. If the business you worked at is massive, such as a Fortune 500 company, find the person that supported you the most and give them a call to chat about their lives and yours. For smaller companies, do not be afraid to send a quick email to the boss or owner with details of what your classes have taught you. Being forward may not be the best solution for every person (i.e. some bosses may not respond), but it will pay off for those who value a personal touch. In addition, it may further or deepen a mentoring opportunity.

Spending your summer in the office is well worth the big benefits to your resume and professional experiences. To keep the internship working for you, be sure to stay in touch after you pack your things for college. By staying in touch and reaching out through professional emails and networks, you may not only find yourself being considered for future positions, you may also land yourself a mentor for the future.