This is something you should do during your entire college experience, but if you haven’t, now is the time to start.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, networking is simply building mutually beneficial relationships with those who can help you achieve your professional goals. It isn’t a one-way street—you need to be willing to give and take, just as you would within a friendship, providing value even as you seek aid.
So how do you actually network? Start with your university’s career center—they can often guide you through the process of connecting with successful alumni who are currently working for great organizations.
Next, look to your peers. Where are they going? Have any of them become particularly successful? Take note of who is doing what, and talk to those who are in positions to help you. A good word from an employee can sometimes be all it takes to get you into your dream job.
LinkedIn is a great place to network—it puts your professional story out there for all to see, and helps to keep you connected to peers, friends, and co-workers. Keep your skills and connections updated, and continually seek out new professional relationships through the site’s messaging system—it’s a fantastic professional tool.
Once you’re done with college, start networking and don’t give up. It’s the single most effective way to start the life you want.