You’ve heard it before: getting a job is becoming more and more competitive.
For college students who graduated in the class of 2014, nearly 30% are unemployed or not employed full-time.
To land the job you want, it’s important to know how to stand out and make meaningful connections. Connections that will get you noticed. One surefire way to do this is by building relationships.
We asked college students from across the country to share their opinions on the most effective ways to network. Their top tip? Be yourself! Don’t force it. Let the connections come naturally.
While networking can be intimidating at first, when you do it on your terms, it can enhance your job search while expanding your network.
Here’s what a few of our #CampusFaves had to say about the networking process and how to build successful and meaningful relationships.
What do you think is the most effective way to network?
“Be YOU and only YOU – but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.” – Kat Slump
“I’m a big fan of personalized contact – meeting someone through a social event and then reaching out in a personalized way, such as a phone call or text message. about.me is a great way to facilitate those social events by seeing people with similar interests and extending an invite.” – Chris Paterno
“Networking can be intimidating, but it really doesn’t have to be. My strategy has always been to be transparent and prepared. Any time I’m at an event, I make sure to have my personal story prepared and an abbreviated version, which we know as an elevator pitch. I have a strong sense of what my personal brand is and how to share it. I have personal business cards I made ready and before I just shove it into someone’s hand, I attempt to have a genuine conversation with them. I try to get a sense of who they are, what they do and make connections between our interests and circles. If you can do that, networking just boils down to simple, honest conversation.” – Andy Ng
“While on campus, seek out student organizations and don’t be afraid to cultivate relationships with your professors. They are undoubtedly established in their field and can help you down the road.” – Will Hoverman
“The best way to network is by getting involved in clubs or professional societies that interest you at your university. Through this involvement you will meet people who have similar career goals as well as potential mentors to help guide you in the right direction.” – Jessica Gillen
“Don’t think about it as networking, but just making friends with people who you admire. Look to make friends, everything comes easy after that”. – Zach Schwartz
“I’ve had a lot of success on Twitter. Following just a few prominent people in your industry, or hashtags, opens a lot of doors for brief conversations. The key is to be willing to be public about it. Used correctly, it can be an extremely powerful networking tool”. – Josh Vickerson
How do you network? Let us know on Twitter!