Our sQoolink mentor, Jess Magnan, shares how important it is to start networking early while in college/university. Not only will it help you land your first job, your network will be invaluable as you continue to build your career. She majored in film and writing at Grand Valley State University, but her tips apply to students of all disciplines.
Start building your network
At some point, you’re going to finish your last round of courses. Then what? Landing a job is often about who you know, not what you know, so it’s important to start making real connections with your professors and peers.
Is there a specific professor who has experience in something you’d like to do? Reach out to your professors by asking them to discuss your projects outside of class. I once went to a professor’s office hours to discuss a film project (I also majored in film), and she ended up telling me about a promotional project she was developing for a local nonprofit organization. She was looking for writing majors to help work on the scripts. While this did not lead to a job, I got experience doing a project for a great cause, I have final products with my name on it, and I created a network of a professor, other writers, and a supervisor who I now feel comfortable asking favors of.
It’s also equally important to stay connected to your peers. If you become acquainted with some students in your class due to workshops or group projects, let them know they can contact you for future projects. I’ve done this a few times and a few group members have stuck with me. We keep each other informed about current projects, bounce ideas off each other, and continue to give each other feedback.
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