Career | College Networking Tips for International Students/F1 Students
During your college experience in the United States, you'll quickly learn that networking is an important part of making the most of your time here. It doesn't come easily to everyone, and small differences in culture and language can make it seem even more difficult.
Networking is a simple and straightforward process, though. It's as easy as meeting new people, communicating your goals and showing them the best version of yourself.
Networking helps you get to know people who can help you reach your personal, educational and professional goals. It's simply easier to get a desirable internship, great job and access to scholarships when you have connections to people who want to help during your college experience.
Networking in College
The best place to start networking is on your college campus. Look for special interest groups that align with your goals and values. Getting a job on campus as a teaching assistant or administrative assistant, even if it's just a few hours each week, will help you get to know the people in your department and walk out of your comfort zone.
Networking by joining special interest groups and working on campus offers you the chance to show your peers, instructors, and colleagues that you have a great work ethic and a strong sense of responsibility. You'll be in the perfect environment to practice your conversational English skills and learn valuable lessons about American culture that will help you later during your job search.
Here are some other ways you can network on campus:
- Use social media like LinkedIn by filling out your profile, adding a clear professional photo of yourself, and initiating contact with your peers and the leaders in your related field
- Attend networking events and be friendly by smiling, initiating conversation and showing your personality
- Reach out to professors in your department and in related fields to let them know that you are pleased to be on campus and excited to participate in their programs
- Start searching for an internship right away to engage in communications in professional settings and further hone your skills
- Follow school career services updates and stay in touch with the people in those departments for help with alumni networking, resume creation and navigating everyday challenges
- Engage in class discussions by sitting in the front of the room and asking questions, which is also a great way to stay focused in class. You could also introduce yourself to your professors during their open office hours
- Connect with companies you may like to work for on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+) by following their updates and get familiar with those companies
- Ask people who you'd like to connect with for an informational interview by emailing them to establish a strong network of contacts and to find out how they got where they are in their career
Finding a great job after graduation is a common goal among international students. Developing your networking skills during your time as an undergraduate helps you make the connections you need to succeed in your job search and beyond.
Boro is devoted to helping international students in the U.S. thrive during their college experience. We offer a scholarship opportunity for international students as part of our mission to help students on an F1 Visa pursue their dreams.