- Develop your resume if you have not done so already (see later in this chapter). You should have your resume ready so that you can ask some of your network contacts to critique it. You also want to have it ready in case someone you meet asks for it. You may not be in a position to accept a job at this point, but you could gain an internship opportunity and great contact by having your resume ready.
- Begin to brainstorm a list of potential networking contacts. See if you can come up with about 250, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Any number is a good start, and the list is sure to grow.
- Make a list of companies you’d like to work for and start thinking about whom you know who might be able to help you break into your dream companies.
- You are probably already a member of an online social-networking venue like MySpace or Facebook. If not, join, and also join LinkedIn. Then search for and contact people in your prospective career field and geographical preference.
- Find out if your campus career services office keeps a database of alumni that could be added to your network. Check the alumni files of your fraternity or sorority, too.
- Join one or more online discussion groups in your area of professional interest. Ask members’ advice on breaking into your field and finding internships.
- Step up the pace of informational interviews. People working in your dream companies are excellent targets for interviews.
- Consider creating a “networking card,” a business card for those not yet employed, so you have something tangible to hand out to people you meet. See our article, Networking Business Cards.
- Begin to introduce yourself to every guest speaker you encounter in classes. Give them your networking card, and, if appropriate, your resume.
- Continue schmoozing with professors, students, and employers.