Networking on campus is easy — Joyce’s Career Tip of the Week

When I mention the word “networking” to students, I often see that “deer in the headlights” look of fear and panic. I can only imagine what they must be picturing. Perhaps it’s a crowded room with everyone milling around dressed in suits having uncomfortable conversations. Or maybe they see themselves awkwardly speaking to strangers who they are trying to impress.

The reality is that networking is really quite easy for college students; and, it does not have to be uncomfortable. An added bonus to being a Fulton Schools student at ASU is that this place is big and that there are many people. This means that the odds are excellent that you will be able to find folks who share your interests.

Start by getting to know other students in your major. Talk to your classmates. Join study groups. Get to know your professors. Visit them during office hours. If they are doing research in an area of interest to you, ask if you can help. Get to know students in classes ahead of you by being involved in student organizations.

Within the Fulton Schools, there are organizations related to professions, opportunities to build your technical skills through competitions, clubs that provide opportunities for service, social entrepreneurship and celebrating diversity.

There are more than 1,000 organizations across the four ASU campuses. Your interests could be political, cultural, musical or athletic. Your goal should be to find people who like the same things that you do. Then, get to know them. By the way, it is fine to select an organization just because it would be fun!

I remember a conversation I had with one of my former peer career coaches who was quiet and introverted. I asked her what she thought about “networking.” She told me that when she first heard the word, she was terrified. However, she joined a student organization related to her major. She became friends with a student who was doing research that interested her. Shortly before his graduation, he recommended her to his professor. She did get that research position. When she was seeking internships, she was able to speak to the members (her friends) within the organization who had done internships at the companies where she was interviewing, and that was very helpful.

These experiences made her realize that she actually had a professional network, and it happened quite naturally. So, think about the things you want to do. Look over the many options. Get out there and find your people!


Joyce Donahue is a career counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center. She is a nationally certified counselor and holds “Master Career Counselor” membership status in the National Career Development Association.