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If there’s one lesson you’ll learn in business it’s that it’s never too soon to begin networking. Before you complete your program at UIC online, it’s a good idea to start reaching out to those inside and outside of your industry. A strong professional network is key for being a success in any field you enter into. You never know which connect will offer a great opportunity one day. If you spend your college years meeting people and fostering relationships, you can call on them for favors after you’ve graduated.

How To Build A Professional Network In College

The following tips can be used to start building a network while you’re still in college.

Take Advantage of Your Student Status

People are more willing to connect with you when they know you’re not calling on them for a favor. Since you’re still a student, professionals know that you’re not looking for work just yet. If anything, you’re just connecting with them for advice. Make use of these connections because they will help prepare you for your future career. And once you build a steady relationship, they may vouch for you for a future position.

Check Your Friends’ Parents

The parents of your friends can be great resources for building your professional network. Depending on the industry they’re in, they may be able to help you in the future or even connect you with someone who can. Plus, if you go to school with your friends, their parents are likely around, making it easy to connect with them and ask questions. And if you are already on good terms with them, it will be less awkward to ask for advice and guidance.

Network Off Campus

Your school campus is a great place to network, but it’s not the only place. There may be local events you can attend to expand your reach. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce about upcoming conferences you can go to. Social media is another great venue to find and connect with people in your industry. Use these channels to reach out to those who will be attending upcoming events and conferences.

Open an Account On LinkedIn

Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media platforms you can use to network. In fact, LinkedIn is considered to be one of the best places to connect with professionals. Don’t wait until after college to open up an account. Start using it now to broaden your network. Recently, LinkedIn released new options designed specifically for students to make it easier for them to network.

Apply for an Internship

An internship offers a plethora of opportunities for students. It gives you real world experience, a great reference for future jobs and allows you to network with folks directly and indirectly related to your industry. It’s very common for employers to hire interns as full-time workers. Make use of these opportunities to open doors to new ones.

Networking doesn’t have to be a difficult task. If you can put yourself in the right places at the right time, you can improve your chances of meeting the right people. Use these tips to help further your reach and grow your professional network.

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