by Marie Sweeney ’20
College is a time of growth, education, and fun. However, it is also a time where making contacts and connections are integral for the future. As Providence College students begin applying for internships and full time jobs, it is necessary to keep in mind the importance of making connections and networking for potential opportunities.
Networking can help a college student in a variety of ways. By having the right conversations with people, an individual can learn about different career paths and what works best for them. It can also help students make the right decisions about graduate school or other education and certification opportunities. But most importantly, it can help students secure an internship or a full time job.
Luckily, at PC there are various ways that students can successfully network. One of the easiest ways to do this is by getting to know your professors and going to them for advice and guidance in the professional world. Most of the professors at PC have a plethora of contacts that students can use for informational interviews and exciting opportunities.
Another way in which PC students can effectively network is through our vast alumni network. As many know, Friars love to hire from their alma mater, and networking with an alum can open doors to a variety of opportunities for PC students.
The Career Center also created several resources such as FriarLink and HandShake to assist students in connecting with alumni and other organizations that would best fit their career interests. This can also be done using LinkedIn where you can search for companies and find out if any alumni work there.
Brendan Cooney ‘20 is just one example of this practice. He states, “Reaching out to alumni on LinkedIn and HandShake is something I began to do because it really helps me narrow down my career interests through the conversations that I have with them. I know this will also help me in the future if I decide to apply to a company that they work at and I can really use them as a helpful resource.”
Although some students may think that networking is something to focus on later in their college career or even later in life, it is important that students begin to build these connections and relationships as early as possible.
Some students may also feel that networking can be awkward and difficult, and that they would rather apply for internships and full-time jobs on job boards or through a company website. However, applying through the company website can be tedious and a lot of times applications can get lost among the others.
Networking helps build connections so that when someone applies they can have their connection at the company accelerate their application through the candidate pool. This way, there is a better chance of your application actually being seen and someone at the company can vouch for your candidacy.
As students begin to stress out about the application process for internships and jobs, it is important to keep in mind how beneficial and helpful networking can be for your future. Networking takes the stressful process of job applications and makes it much more successful and enjoyable for applicants and can create long lasting career relationships.