Making strong connections goes a long way when searching for internships and jobs. Knowing people in the fields you would like to explore and work in can open you up to opportunities, and while networking is not the only aspect you should focus on, it is important to understand and master.
As a student, you already have a network of peers, professors, family, and friends. Your network will keep expanding as you meet new people. Here are some tips on how to build strong connections as you move forward in life.
You will meet a variety of different people, from fellow students to alumni to potential employers, and how you introduce and present yourself will be important in each situation.
Master Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a quick, 30 second speech about who you are, what makes you unique, your skills, and your goals. Knowing how to present yourself to a new contact is key to building a brand and building your connections. Your elevator pitch will be invaluable during events like information sessions or career fairs where you may not have much time to talk to someone.
Connecting with Different People
TCNJ and The Career Center both host a variety of events featuring alumni, and these events are perfect for networking. Attend panels, information sessions, presentations, whatever interests you. These events can also help you learn how past TCNJ students went about discovering their careers, applying, and so forth. Alumni are a great resource and a great connection to have!
You can connect with TCNJ Alumni as well through the TCNJ Alumni LinkedIn page.
Friends, Family, Peers, and TCNJ Staff
Your friends, family, and TCNJ peers are also fantastic connections! You already have close ties with friends and family, so keep up to date with what they are doing, what they are involved in, and more. Reach out to your friends and family! Grab coffee and catch up. Your friends and family members also know people who know people, and you can gain further connections that way as well.
Current TCNJ students are also a great connection! Students in your major, classes, and clubs are all people you can add into your circle. Reaching out to other students can give you an insight on how they decided a major, applied for an internship, or prepared for an interview. This is a great way to meet new people and make new friends too. Your peers are always excellent connections to have during and after college.
Don’t forget about TCNJ Staff either! Everyone here is rooting for your success, from Professors to the Career Counselors here, there are plenty of connections to build. Ask Career Counselors and Professors for information when searching for internships or jobs, and be sure to build up a rapport with staff members in different departments.
Connect with potential employers at the Fall Opportunities and Spring Internship and Career Fairs as well as through on-campus interviews and information sessions. Also, attend networking events! After networking events, make sure to ask for a business card to keep in touch with the representative or employer. These connections are invaluable to learning about new opportunities and for even more potential networking.
Current and Former Co-Workers/Supervisors
If you have finished an internship or job opportunity, keep in contact with your previous co-workers and employer. These people are now part of your network, and as people who have worked with you, they can be excellent references and resources for future careers.
Your social media presence is as important as is building your brand. Much like how you may be researching other people, they will likely be doing the same with you. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward across all social media platforms.
Furthermore, if you have not yet, set up a LinkedIn profile! It is another great way to build up your network and connections while also providing job and internship opportunities. Add people from your current network and keep building!