“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
~ Dale Carnegie, Author of How to Win Friends and Influence People
There’s an old saying that there’s safety in numbers. Well, there’s also success in numbers. Various studies by multiple sources over the years have concluded that anywhere from 50 to 85 percent percent of jobs are found through networking. This means that building relationships early and continuing to do so throughout one’s career is crucial to professional success. In order to be productive in networking, students as well as seasoned professionals need to attain a level of sophistication in both online and face-to-face networking.
This is a valuable concept for college seniors to grasp, as they set off on the paths to their dream jobs and careers.
Your Professional Network
Students already have many contacts in their networks, including:
- Family members and relatives
- Community residents and leaders
- School contacts
- Work contacts
- Volunteer acquaintances
The key to success is to continue to build that network and nurture contacts by keeping in touch with them, treating them like valued individuals, and establishing good relationships with them.
Who Are a College Student’s Contacts?
As a college student, think about keeping track of your relationships by organizing them in a database or spreadsheet — someplace safe and easily accessible. Networks are usually sorted into three tiers:
- Tier One comprises your top contacts, that is, those with whom you have established solid relationships and are in touch with currently and regularly. These are the people who likely can make an impact on your career and may be able to help you land that first job.
- Tier Two consists of those people with whom you have established good, potentially lifelong relationships and who can be very helpful to you over the course of your career, but with whom you are not in constant contact.
- Tier Three contains those with whom you have become acquainted and might possibly want to contact in the future.
It’s wise to remember that by definition networks are not one-way streets; the words “intersect” and “interconnect” are used to describe a network. Thus, while people in your ever-expanding universe might be helpful to you at various stages of your career you should expect to reciprocate as well as take the first step to provide assistance to a contact when the occasion arises. That’s the give-and-take nature of a professional network. You might not be even-steven with each individual in your network, but over time and overall the network succeeds in supporting and advancing its members.
So who are those college contacts that every senior should be adding to his or her network for current and future reference? Here’s a suggested partial list to explore and increase:
- Roommates, classmates, campus mates
- Professors (and even teachers from high school and lower grades)
- College Advisors (academic, club, etc.)
- Club/Team Members
- Resident Assistants
- Career Counselor(s) (Career Services Center)
- Internship Managers/Supervisors/Staff Members
- People at Networking Events
Relationships that are made before and during the college years can last throughout one’s career and lifetime, and be of immeasurable support when conducting a job search, landing a client, climbing the corporate ladder, securing a membership (industry association, country club, political organization, etc.), buying a house, relocating to another city or country and even helping your children when they come along!
Relationships are invaluable; treat them as such.
Until next time,