Networking is your most powerful tool for making professional connections and finding jobs. Unfortunately, it often isn't discussed until after you've graduated and started your job search. You'll never be in a better position to build your professional network than while you're in school when you're surrounded by students and instructors in your field and have access to school resources.
When you hear the word networking, you may think about people in suits handing out business cards. However, as a student, it is just about making connections and keeping in touch, just like keeping up your social networks. Here are five student networking tips:
Start by reaching out to your Medcerts mentor and career coach. They can advise you about professional events you can attend and suggest other formal and informal networking opportunities. They're also a good source of information about the best way to approach professionals in your industry.
The Career Center is a powerful resource for preparing to find an internship or job. However, don't wait until you've finished your program to familiarize yourself with it. Medcerts' Career Center can help you prepare your resume, practice interviewing, research employment opportunities, and develop a job search plan, so you're ready to launch your career as soon as you graduate.
You probably already have a social presence online. Now it's time to craft a professional presence online. Set up a profile on professional sites such as LinkedIn. It's never too early to start setting yourself apart. You can accumulate professional content for your career network even as a student.
You can write short articles for LinkedIn about what you're learning. You don't have to be an expert to make a meaningful contribution. Just write about what you know or, better yet, what you wish you had known a little earlier. Sharing your knowledge and experience is an excellent way to get your name out in the community.
The perfect time to clean up your existing social media accounts is also when you're still in school. Google your name to find out what pops up. There's a good chance your future employers will do an internet search before hiring you. Your social media accounts can be a great networking tool if they convey a professional impression.
Going the extra mile for your classes is a great way to learn. It's also a great way to make a good impression on your classmates. You'll get to know your fellow students, who may become your future colleagues. In addition, if you impress your student advisors with your work ethic and attitude, they won't hesitate to recommend you to future employees.
Once you've made connections, make a point of keeping in touch. Building a network takes a lot of effort, so don't neglect it. If you meet someone at a professional event or job fair, follow up a few weeks later. Make sure your relationships go both ways. If you know someone who can help one of your connections or hear about an opportunity that would benefit them, let them know.
You're working hard to learn the skills you need to build a new career, so make the most of the opportunities you have during school. Learn how to network as a student, and you'll be ready to start your new life as soon as you finish your course or pass your certifications.
Julie Campos is the Senior Director of Operations and Student Success at MedCerts. She brings over 14 years of experience in Online Higher Education in both Student Support and Enrollment and started her career at the University of Phoenix, serving most of her tenure as a student-facing leader.
Julie has her Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her areas of expertise are student support in online higher education environments and working with nontraditional students. At MedCerts, she is focused on creating a pro-active student central support model for MedCerts students to reach their goals and has developed the MedCerts Student Support and Outreach Model, created MedCerts Student Success Advisor reports and Dashboards, as well as the Student Success Advisor Playbook. Her proactive approach to student support has been crucial in meeting MedCerts’ student’s needs, as well as completion and certification goals.
Julie has three children – a 10-year-old son and 12- and 4-year-old daughters, who keep her and her husband busy with sports. She is also an avid crafter with an entire room of her home dedicated to the hobby. In her free time, she enjoys teaching wreath making and even has a few “how-to” YouTube videos on the subject!