Flickr user Chris Potter

Networking is often a tool used by professionals, but it’s never too early to start building connections. High school and college can present plenty of opportunities to network. Here are some tips to start furthering your career before you’ve even earned your Bachelor’s.

Network with Parents’ Friends and Friends’ Parents

While you’re still in high school, start with the adults you know. This will often be the friends of your parents, but also your friends’ parents. They can make for great resources, especially if they’re in a field you’re entering. Don’t overlook them just because you’ve known them since you were five years old.

Another plus of networking with these adults is the fact that they have connections of their own. Even if they aren’t in your particular field, they might know someone who is and can put you in touch. Once you’re ready to graduate college and start looking for a career, you’ll have a good base of connections just from this pool.

Network By Joining Clubs and Organizations

Both high schools and colleges offer plenty of clubs and organizations you can take part in. Ones relevant to your intended major are great choices, but also consider options that could help further your career. This could include clubs that focus on leadership or volunteer work, for example.

Joining a club also presents you with the opportunity to network with your fellow students. After all, you’ll be entering the career fields together. However, don’t forget about the teachers or professors who may have a hand in the organization or the professionals you’ll meet through events.

Network Through Internships

Internships are a huge stepping stone in many career paths, but also a huge boost for your networking skills. You’ll meet potential future employers and coworkers while also possibly being hired after graduation. The real life experience an internship can provide is unmatched during your college years.

Network with Social Media

Don’t wait to join LinkedIn until you’ve graduated college. It’s never too early to make a profile and it can easily keep your connections together for you in one place. You’ll never forget who someone is or where you met them; it’s all right there for you. It’s easy to learn the basics of LinkedIn and starting as soon as possible can make it a networking haven when you start looking for a job after graduation.

However, don’t forget about other social media platforms when it comes to networking! Twitter is another great resource. If you have a personal account, consider creating a professional one that is separate and use this to build contacts within your targeted field. Twitter Advanced Search can help you find voices you may have not otherwise met. Interact with them through mentions, retweets, and follows. Don’t forget to use lists to organize your connections on Twitter.

It’s never to early to start networking, even if you’re still in high school. The sooner you begin, the more connections will be there when you graduate. After all, the right connection could be the door to your dream job.

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