Building your Network Early

Written by David Bartell, Parent and Family Association Member, 2023

Start today.

Since my daughter made the decision to attend Clarkson – all I have heard about is the fantastic network that Clarkson provides. It’s true – giants in industry, thought leaders and emerging young professionals wearing Clarkson green and gold are everywhere. I work at a large private school, my oldest daughter graduated from a large public school and neither school’s alumni rival the professional pride and willingness to hire/help other Knights. The hitch is – current students must go out and connect, they must proactively reach out – they must, gasp – network.

As a self-proclaimed “professional networker,” I recognize that it’s not easy for everyone to walk into a room or pick up the phone and strike up a conversation with a stranger. For some, it is even difficult to do that over an email or text. The problem is that most students think they must ask for a job, or for help achieving something. Conversely – the best way to build a network is to begin by simply asking for advice. People love to give advice – especially to students. Students need to start building their professional circle first year. If they wait until Senior year, they have lost over a thousand days to build a solid green and gold foundation.

Implore your students to start their first semester the first year. Have them personally introduce

themselves to every professor. That is five people. Set appointments up at the career center to meet the counselors. That’s three to five. Before they know it – they have a network built within campus. Have them create a LinkedIn profile and send personalized requests to three Clarkson graduates a week. Pretty soon, the people they are connecting with will help connect them with others, and that is when the magic happens.

Students need to start early, ask often and do not be shy. A degree from Clarkson is only as strong as the leverage that it is used for. Let’s Go Tech.

The Career Center staff are available to assist students with obtaining internships, co-ops, research opportunities, study abroad and on-campus employment. They also provide career readiness prep such as resume writing, cover letter review, mock interviews, and personalized assistance with a Career Coach. To connect with Clarkson’s Career Center, direct your student to the 2nd floor office of the ERC or ask them to email careers@clarkson.edu

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