The term "networking" can be vague and elusive. What exactly does it mean, and how can you get started?

Networking, at its core, is simply building and maintaining relationships. You probably networked quite a bit when you first arrived at UT Austin, whether it be through freshman orientation, tabling on Gregory Plaza, or First-Year Interest Groups. These early connections form the basis of your network here on the Forty Acres, and the same idea can be applied to your future career.

Much like college, the sooner you make these connections, the better. It's never too early to start networking through the methods below. In fact, most of the ideas below can be done before you're even enrolled at UT! Your future self will thank you.

Let's get started.

1. Create a LinkedIn profile.

Joining LinkedIn is the first and easiest step to building your professional network. Connect with peers, professors, and key players in your chosen industry. Unlike Facebook, it is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) for you to connect with people you don't yet know. Dedicating time each week to posting content, engaging with your connections, and keeping up with industry trends can do wonders - and may even land you your next job.

Start Here:
The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Students

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2. Join student and professional organizations.

The University of Texas boasts over 1,100 student organizations and houses many student chapters of professional organizations. It's never too early to join, and any experience you gain or leadership positions you hold can be included on your resume. Joining organizations is the quickest way to finding like-minded students on campus who share your interests and passions. Who knows... you may end up making friends with the next Michael Dell or Brené Brown!

Start Here:
Browse Student Organizations on HornsLink

  AET Design
Student Organizations
  • Campus Events + Entertainment (E+E)
  • Electronic Game Developers Society (EGaDS)
  • Euphoria ATX
  • Longhorn Gaming
  • Texas Music Producers (TMP)
  • Theme Park Engineering Group (TPEG)
  • Women in Gaming
  • Afterglow ATX
  • Design for America (DFA)
  • Orange Magazine
  • Spark Magazine
  • Texas Product Engineering Organization (TPEO)
  • Texas Student Media (TSM)
Professional Organizations

3. Ask someone you admire to coffee.

If that sentence scares you, you're not alone! Thankfully one of the privileges of being a college student is that, more often than not, professionals are willing to help you. Is there a local leader in your industry that you admire? Are you looking for career advice? Did you connect with someone on LinkedIn who has your dream job? It never hurts to ask that person out for coffee (or a Zoom meeting) for an informational interview. The worst they can say is "no," and you have everything to gain. (Please note that it is never acceptable to ask for a job during an informational interview).

Start Here:
How to Set Up and Informational Interview

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4. Land your first internship.

Ever heard the saying "it takes a job to get a job"? This is why internships are so critical. In today's world, you can (and should) start applying for internships as early on in your college career as possible. Even if you have little to no work experience, you can bolster your resume with class projects, part-time jobs, and student organizations. Your early (potentially unpaid) internships can help you land your dream internship later. You'll walk away from every internship experience with a better sense of what you do - and don't - want to do long-term, as well as professional connections from your time with each company.

So how do you land your first internship? It starts with a strong resume and cover letter. Industry Relations can assist you with resume reviews and cover letter editing. Just email Michaela Newman to set up an appointment.

Start Here: 
How to Make a Great Resume With No Work Experience

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5. Repeat.

Networking is never-ending and won't happen overnight. Now that you've laid the foundation, keep making new connections while maintaining those you already have. Over time, you'll watch your professional network grow and change with each step in your career. The more you grow your network as a student, the better poised you'll be to launch into your industry after graduation.

Still have questions? Reach out to Michaela Newman to set up a one-on-one meeting.

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