We get it - being a full-time college student keeps you busy. There is so much on your plate to balance, from academics to extracurriculars to just relaxing with your peers. But these formative years of higher education are also a prime time to begin developing a professional network that can help jumpstart your career come graduation.

1. Build networking into your everyday routine

You don’t have to wait for networking events to start creating a professional community. You already have so many networking opportunities to explore in your everyday routines. Take going to class, for example. You may not see it now, but professors and classmates can become some of your most valuable connections when it comes to job hunting down the road.

Next time you go to class, introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. Pop into your professors’ office hours just to say hello. In many instances, these small gestures can go a long way.


2. Take advantage of Longwood Career Services

The Longwood Career Services staff is eager to help students however they can. Are you looking for resume help? Do you have an upcoming interview you need to prepare for? Do you have questions on how to prepare for life after graduation? Consider making an appointment with a Career Coach! All appointments with Career Coaches last one hour and are scheduled between 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, while school is in session either in person or via Skype.

Longwood Career Services has countless resources to take advantage of. From mock interview services to graduate school prep – if you have a question about your future, Longwood Career Services is here to help.


3. Get involved on campus

The number of clubs, organizations, and student activities on campus are endless. If you have yet to get involved with a group at Longwood, you’re bound to find one at least one that interests you. Organizations include honor societies, professional clubs, social sororities and fraternities, job, student media, club sports - you name it!

Keep an eye out for club fairs, scan bulletin boards in academic buildings, or simply ask a classmate or friend. There is something out there for everyone, and being part of a student organization is a great way to connect with like-minded people.


 4. Create a LinkedIn profile

It’s never too early to create a LinkedIn profile. Do you only have two or three jobs on your resume? Put them on your profile, and continue to update it throughout your college career. LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with professional contacts and connect with Longwood alumni.

Take just 10 minutes a day to engage with people on LinkedIn, whether you check in with an old connection, write a recommendation, write or share an article, or connect with someone new. Every little bit counts when building your professional community!


5. Get a job or an internship

Part-time jobs and internships are a great way to get your foot in the door. Even if an internship doesn’t end with a job offer at that particular company, it’s still a great way to gain experience and expand your network. Who knows – it may lead to job opportunities down the road!

Take some time today searching for part-time jobs and internships that interest you. If the position is unpaid, take it seriously and don’t just use it as a resume filler. Take every job seriously, give it your all, and you’ll be grateful for the extra work you put in come graduation.

About the Author

Maura Mazurowski

Maura Mazurowski is the Community Coordinator bringing together students and alumni to the Longwood Professional Communities. She also produced Season 2 of the Longwood podcast, Day After Graduation." Her work has been published in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Daily Progress, Virginia Mercury, and more.

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