“Network, network, network.” Every college student hears this on a weekly, if not daily, basis from almost everyone: advisors, professors and fellow club members. Yes, it’s beneficial in order to get a job, but what is the right way to do it? Where do you begin?
The great thing about networking is that there is not one specific way to do it. From the amount of professionals I’ve met so far, there has not been one identical story. The one consistent idea has been that the hardest part about it is finding a place to start. For me, I’ve found LinkedIn to be a key element in my networking process. I’m constantly looking into different companies that I may want to intern for someday and have contacted many professionals seeking advice. This can be a little intimidating at times, but the truth is that more people are willing to talk to you than you initially may think. Even just a phone call or email can make a possible connection for future use; some may even offer to meet in person. You never know, you may end up having a mutual contact that you didn’t even realize you had.
One of the many benefits of going to Hofstra is the amount of pre-professional organizations and clubs there are on campus. Many, such as PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) and MEISA (Music Entertainment Industry Student Association), often hold networking events with professionals who are willing to help out. Not only are they extremely beneficial, but even just joining a club as a whole can be a big step. Constantly being around others who have the same professional goals and dreams as you can lead to accessibility to future job opportunities. Who knows, the person you least expected to ever work with may be the reason you get a job offer from your favorite company someday.
Networking can be a great thing if you challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. It’s all about finding someone that sees your potential and is willing to help you excel, but you need to put in the work. It definitely won’t come easily, but the more effort you put in the better the reward. Although this is all essential, the most important thing to remember is to be yourself. Even if your first internship isn’t necessarily what you desire it to be, it will help you realize what you truly want and may change your mind. Your professional “perfect match” is out there somewhere, waiting to give you a chance.
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