How do I network in college?
When it comes to engineering careers relating to it I hear that often times people need to network and build connections but how exactly do people do that and how early can I start?
Networking means you're building connections with other people with similar career interests or goals in a industry.
You can start networking as early as you want!
Some ways you can start networking in college are:
☆ Talk to students in your major. If you're taking intro to engineering courses, see if you can befriend classmates. Just chat about the course, homework, or even non-school things.
☆ Talk to professors. Usually, professors in engineering have worked a long time in the field and are conducting research related to engineering. They will likely have good information to share with you.
☆ Join Engineering associations/organizations.
Colleges have clubs for pretty much everything. Usually, colleges will have a list of organizations on their website. Try to find a Engineering club for schools you're considering, and research whether they're active along with what activities they've done together recently.
The great thing about ENG clubs is that they'll have career events, industry tours, seminars, and social events!
☆ Volunteer with engineering (or general STEM) teams. Volunteering is a great way to talk + build connections with people.
Here's an Engineering volunteering group you may want to join! https://ewb-sfp.org/faq
If you do these things, you'll have a great start to building your network.
Sending you good luck as you enter engineering :)
Another way to network is to participate in sports and local community events like volunteering to help out in local charity events. This is also a good way to meet people from all walks of life.
Shermaine recommends the following next steps:
Donna L.’s Answer
You can start now.
Actually, you already have (!!) because reaching out in this manner is part of networking IMHO. Look how many resources you already have; each person here probably has an engineer in their life that may be willing to talk to you.
Refer to other next step options below.
Based of luck with your search and career.
Donna L. recommends the following next steps:
Additionally, I recommend attending networking events related to your field, as they can help improve your communication abilities and self-assurance. By engaging in conversations, you may encounter unexpected opportunities that could benefit you in the long run. This experience will also prepare you for the professional world, where interacting with new people and handling situations with potential stakeholders is essential.
Wishing you the best of luck!
Thank you for your question. Depending on the industry you want to attend to, there are likely a lot of clubs with guest speakers. I highly recommend networking with the guest speakers. Furthermore, building relationships with professors is crucial for getting through college and keeping in touch for advice after college. Lastly, there are likely general career fairs or career fairs by industry. You'll be able to network with other students and professionals at firms you want to eventually work at.
Step one is always connections within your school. They can potentially lead you to other professionals within the industry to connect with. These connections could be your professors, professionals you meet at career fairs or even fellow students that have also done internships. Hopefully that helps out!
All the best,
Embark on your networking adventure today! If you haven't yet established a social media presence, now's the perfect time to do so. Seek out individuals who share your passion for the engineering field you're pursuing. But remember, don't confine yourself. You might find valuable connections in other professions who can introduce you to engineering contacts. Stay curious! If you come across engineering discussions and have questions, don't hesitate to reach out to the person or group via email, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Moreover, maintain an active relationship with your connections, celebrating your engineering achievements together. Additionally, mentors and coaches can be instrumental in connecting you with others in your engineering journey. Wishing you much success!
These tips are fantastic, but they might lean a bit "too professional." So, I'd like to offer you a different viewpoint since I'm an introvert and find it challenging to strike up conversations with new people.
Here's the deal: College is about pushing yourself, not just in your career but also personally. Expand your horizons by engaging in activities beyond the classroom. Discover something new and exciting. If you're an engineering student, consider taking a few personal finance or literature classes. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a club. Explore your interests and find something fun to try. But remember to step out of your comfort zone.
If you're a highly organized person, create a plan: For instance, plan a vacation to the place where you intend to live or attend grad school after graduation. Not sure yet? Choose your dream job and go there. You can pick any destination for almost any reason, even a "career-related" one. Learn the local language, and try out restaurants that serve the local cuisine.
Here's a story for you: A friend of mine who studied Mining Engineering dated a Greek classmate. He's a huge music fan and decided to learn Greek to serenade her with Greek songs. He vacationed in Greece and eventually chose to pursue his Master's degree in Crete. Now he's married and works with international mining companies, where he's an expert in South American food and music. All of this started because he wanted to impress a girl.
This is how it works: People enjoy their hobbies and are eager to share them. So, when you arrive at a new place and show interest, they'll be more than happy to chat. Just go with the flow. It's fine if it doesn't work out. At the very least, you'll have a new story to tell, which is another way to network: Attend social events, reconnect with old friends, or go to your cousin's wedding. Be open about how you spend your free time. Sometimes, it's about the TV show you're watching or even the food you're eating.
Lastly, remember that networking is a skill. It can be learned, so give yourself permission to make mistakes and understand that they're part of the learning process.
Best of luck!
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