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Athlete Blog

How to network

January 10, 2017

The term “network” is being thrown around quite a bit, especially when it comes to the working world. I used to roll my eyes about that when I first stepped on campus at RIT, but I realized that networking will be the difference-maker in your future. So this blog is geared towards student-athletes who are trying to improve their networking skills as they work towards graduation.

Connect with your professors

If you’re studying business at the Saunders College of Business, chances are that your professors are one of the biggest names in the business world. I didn’t realize that until later that everyone who teaches at RIT is essentially a legend, and becoming friends with legends always ends up being awesome. Take the time to walk up to them after class, introduce yourself, tell him or her what you want to do with your life and so on. Nice firm handshake. That’ll get the ball rolling.

Ask questions

Sure, you’ll get participation points in class for asking questions. But more importantly, ask questions after class. Talk about real life situations, what kind of steps your professor took, the career path, certain companies to work for and such. More often than not, the professors will start looking out for you. Maybe at his or her old company. He might know someone who’s looking for interns and so on. Not only that, you’ll be able to build a good professional relationship with your professor in general. This can result in a strong letter of recommendation down the road as well.

Connect with your employment advisor early on

Connecting with an employment advisor early on can be sometimes compared to applying to a college when you just finished your freshman year. It can feel strange, but it’s an important thing to do. Your employment advisor can help you in your search for a co-op and a permanent job upon graduation. The employment advisor also can help you with your resume, your interview skills, develop a professional network and connect you with job opportunities.

Your coach knows people

Your professors and employment advisor are important playmakers in the job search process, but your coach might be the biggest playmaker of all. Your coach watched hundreds of student-athletes like you go through college, grow as an individual, graduate and climb up the working world. Out of every person I mentioned in this blog, chances are that your coach will know you the best. He/she will be able to help support you through the process. He or she might have a deep alumni network of former players who can hire fellow athletes to join the workforce. Ask your coach from time to time if there are any opportunities for you to capitalize on.

Please keep this in mind as the spring semester looms!