By Mike Khorev

Networking is important for college students as they prepare for their future professional careers. Today, success in the corporate world doesn’t only stem from academic excellence. Rather, according to a 2016 article by Forbes, it’s a combination of academic success and the ability to network with the right people in the professional world. If you’re in the PR field, you will increase your chances of success as a pro if you invest in networking. You don’t have to wait until you’re out of college to start networking. As a matter of fact, you should begin networking while still in college. This should equip you with the necessary resources and skills to become a PR pro in the future. Here are the top tips for networking in college that students should practice:

Make Networking Part of Your Daily Activities

If you’re going to become a PR pro, you’ll have to make networking part of your daily routine. While you’re still in college, there are many opportunities you can make use of to expand your networking ability. For example, since the people you’ll be seeing daily while in college are your professors and fellow students, you’ll have to learn how to engage them to build your future PR capacity.

Your professors are extremely valuable when it comes to getting jobs related to your field. They have more knowledge of the industry than you do. As you interact with them, they can give you valuable tips on how you can navigate through your PR career in the future. Also, they have contacts in the PR profession who can come in handy when looking for a job or relevant people to do a project with. Your fellow students can be the people you’ll need in the future to succeed in your PR projects. So, the best thing to do here is to make sure that you engage them as much as you can.

Create a Habit of Maintaining Networks

Not many people have a habit of maintaining networks. They might be good at interacting with the right people, but they don’t keep them for long. If you’ll be a PR pro who will remain relevant for a long time, you have to learn to maintain the networks that you develop. The fact that many don’t know is that networking is more than just having a lot of contacts with you. Effective networking is for people who’re ready to work hard. It’s for people who are ready to do something about the contacts they have available to them.

It’s not an easy thing maintaining networks, but if you’re going to create a strong professional PR image for your future, you can’t afford to go slow on this one. For example, whenever you meet professionals in your field, send them an email to thank them even if they don’t have an opening at the time. This will go a long way to keep you in their minds until the right opportunity presents itself. And continually update your LinkedIn profile and engage regularly in other social platforms.

Be Active on Campus

There are amazing benefits you’ll get for being active while in college. One of the advantages of being active on campus is meeting people who can help you in your future career prospects. The PR industry is a highly valuable one today, especially because of the technology shift in communication. Therefore, it’s a valuable asset for you to get active in college. You never know who you’ll meet.

For example, as you participate in professional and social activities, you’ll have an opportunity to meet with people you don’t meet on a regular basis. You’ll get to meet and connect with speakers and mentors who will be of great help as you look forward to building your profession. They will share their experiences with you and sharpen you as you work hard to become a professional just like them. Don’t stay idle on campus. Apart from the usual and important class activities, make sure you get involved in other activities to expand your professional horizon.

Get in Touch with Your College Career Center

The truth of the matter is that you don’t become a PR pro by accident. It’s a result of deliberate effort and decision-making that will take you there. With this in mind, you have to make your college career center your friend. You should keep visiting the career center because it has the capacity of transforming you into a PR pro in the future. It’s through this that you’ll know the practices of the industry and the current trends. You’ll be able to meet company executives as well as give your resume to the right people. You don’t have to be looking for a job to get in touch with your college career center. Simply put, you’re investing in your future. These are free resources that can help you become a better professional in the future. You’ll learn more about your professional environment by visiting your career center regularly. Make an effort to do so and start building your future as a PR professional or SEO consultant.

Know Your Value

You also need to know your value as you network with different individuals and companies. Before you seek to know what a company can do for you, it’s prudent to have a clear picture of what you can do for the company as well. This is particularly significant when you’re having conversations with corporate executives. They will be hoping to learn more about you for you to remain in their minds. It’s easier to remember someone who leaves a big impression compared to one who doesn’t. So, as you interact with professionals, you need to be confident about yourself and let your value shine. This will place you strategically as a PR professional with a strong vision for the future.

Certainly, the future of PR pros is in their capacity to network effectively. While developing a habit of networking and maintaining networks isn’t an easy affair for many, it’s the game changer for those who want to make it big in the corporate world. Take advantage of the opportunity you have and get the right people to be on your side.

Mike Khorev is a lead SEO expert at Nine Peaks Media a B2B SaaS SEO agency that helps software, IT,  technology, and startup companies rank on the first page of Google. Mike offers expert advice on optimizing your company website the right way through performance-based on and off site SEO, inbound marketing, conversion rate optimization, search engine marketing and many other online practices.