The most important part of the college experience is not in the classroom, believe it or not. It’s making workplace connections, also known as Networking.
Every college campus has a Career Services Center/Office (every college has its own name for it, though). This is your first step in beginning your professional network. This office is your best resource because it is in contact with a plethora of alumni with many different backgrounds and in many different fields. Also, it organizes career fairs every year and even every semester. If you build rapport with one of the counselors there, they may put you in contact with a presenter coming to the fair, thereby widening your network. The office's location is usually mentioned during orientation, and if you don’t remember, ask around! Depending on the institution, you may be allowed to just walk in, or they may ask you to book an appointment in advance.
Purchase a Set of Business Cards!
You never know when you’ll meet someone you’d like to add to your professional network. You may walk into an elevator and strike up a invigorating conversation with a CEO who may appreciate your passion for education reform, then you pull out a ripped piece of paper to hand them your contact information, which they have to wait to for you to write out. Imagine how much more impressed they’ll be, not to mention how much more efficient it would be, to just pull out a business card from your wallet and hand it over before they exit the elevator!
The card should contain:
- your full name
- a professional email
- phone number
- a current position of employment (if you have one)
- a link to your Linked-In profile and/or another social media account you use for business
Here are a few tips on how to design the card!