How to: Networking as a College Student

| June 15, 2022

While in college, networking is extremely valuable when trying to navigate life post-graduation. Networking allows leaders and peers in specific fields to give students tips, advices and knowledge about the various paths they can take to become established and successful.

Networking begins communication with other professionals by putting a face to your name. Short conversations can promote long-term discussions regarding potential jobs or introduce fields related to your interests. This new knowledge can help direct future graduates in a better direction when applying for entry-level jobs or choosing internships that will allow them to gain work experience.

Networking also enhances personal and professional growth. Through the experience of meeting others and gaining new knowledge, students are able to challenge themselves to step out of their comfort zone. Meeting with professors, career advisors or campus clubs can be a great place to start. These college resources can allow you to understand your potential, discuss interview questions or talk about the overall experience others had when trying to find the right job for them! By listening to others and their experiences, it may spark ideas about new ventures or encourage guidance when trying to decide what position is best suited to meet your professional goals.

While completing college courses, participating in workshops can help you progress in your skills. Workshops are the perfect space to gain knowledge and work under the guidance of specific course professionals. This is a time to ask questions, learn new techniques and ideas, all while creating a sense of community with those participating. Project DA-FANH has a variety of workshops that specifically focus on data science and data analysis literacy.

Many college campuses offer multiple career fair opportunities that allow students to interact with other business professionals. A brief conversation with others can start conversations about much larger topics. The more people that you know, the better. Connections are so valuable when establishing a career. Most career fairs feature companies or businesses that are in a close proximity to the college location. Career fairs allow you to meet a wide variety of companies and get connected to recruiters who are directly connected to the hiring process. Keep in mind that the growth and roles of company locations have increased tremendously.

Many professors on campus bring in professionals in a specific field of study to speak with classes. This is a more intimate opportunity to network with others in the industry. Take the time following class to introduce yourself, express interest in points mentioned in conversation and allow time to gain more understanding of their role. In a matter of minutes, you have now successfully taken advantage of this interaction and created a potential connection in the field.

With the rise of social networking, creating professional connections has become easier than ever. Sites like Linkedin are organized to enhance the job search and application process. These new tools allow students to meet and communicate with companies and organizations across the nation. Files including portfolios, resumes and cover letters can promptly be reviewed and distributed to others in the field to enhance visibility. Being online also allows you to reach a much larger audience at a quicker pace. Looking at Facebook groups can help direct job interest or spread your name to others in that network.

While attending college it is crucial to take advantage of the resources that are available to students. Career advising can help with the production of resumes and cover letters to begin the networking process. Professors and counselors can provide knowledge and guidance when navigating job searches. Participating in local internships can prepare students for life following graduation by gaining work experience and real-word skills. This year, Project DA-FANH opened an internship opportunity to CSU Chico and CSU San Bernardino to help one student on the journey in the career path of Data Science and Data Analytics.

Header image credit from “Why you need to expand your professional network” article by UC Berkeley Extension.

About the Author Natalie Lewandowski is an Account Executive for the Tehama Group Communications Department of Journalism & Public Relations California State University, Chico E-mail: Web: