Friday, July 15, 2016

Young Scholars Advice for Networking

    When I think back to my times in high school after taking the ACT and applying for colleges, I remember asking for advice and what to expect when actually in college. Everyone would mention things like "make sure you pick your dorm early so you get the nice ones" or "enjoy the meal plan but watch out for the freshman 15", or tell me to pick a nice schedule to avoid 8am classes. However, one thing I've noticed is that no one ever mentioned the term networking.

    I didn't hear the word networking very often until I got into college and didn't really understand what it meant. If I could talk to students from my high school, I would tell them that when they get to college don't be afraid to step out of their natural comfort zone, and try to make the most out of every opportunity. Networking is something that happens all the time whether if it is a business event, research presentation, or just talking to people around the office, there is always an opportunity to put your best foot forward and represent yourself.

    An important key to networking is to do your research on the person or company (sometimes both) that your interested in. For example, as a sophomore or junior student trying to earn an internship for the summer, I would recommend going online and browsing the company's website and looking for any interesting news articles they may have been mentioned in, learning about their products, and how the company operates as a whole aside from just the specific position of interest. Being familiar with the CEO and the organizations goals will give you a way to ease into the conversation at the next event or or interview.

    Finally I would express the importance of staying humble while speaking about your current or past experiences. Instead of bragging about your accomplishments and what makes you so great, it might be better to talk about what you have done in the past and how it has been a benefit to others around you, or what you have learned from those experiences and new people.

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