Published: March 25, 2024
picture of people networking

Building your professional network while at CU Boulder can help launch your career. Your time in college gives you the unique opportunity to learn a variety of skills and gain experience while meeting people connected to a wide range of industries and organizations. 

Establishing a network by investing in people you meet can positively impact your job and internship search and open doors to other opportunities. Here are a few benefits of building a network during college. 

Gain insight into industries

It can feel challenging to narrow the industries that interest you. One way to gain insight into how an industry or organization works is by asking the people who work there now. You can schedule informational interviews to ask questions and learn. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about your career path, classes to meet your goals and in-demand skills. 

Find job and internship opportunities

A robust network can lead to job opportunities. If people know you are interested in particular jobs or industries, they may be willing to reach out when a position or internship opens. People in your network can also offer references to help you in the hiring process. When you talk with professionals in your network, you can mention that you are searching for a job or internship and when you will be available to start. 

Connect with mentors

When you are beginning your career, there is a lot to learn. Not only do you need to know the functions of your job, but you also need to understand how to navigate the workplace culture. Having a mentor can give you someone to ask questions or provide guidance. Feeling more prepared can make your transition from college to work smoother and more successful. 

Develop new skills

Learning to network is a skill. When you meet with and talk to professionals, you can gain confidence in communicating at a professional level. You can also ask about the essential skills needed for different positions and companies. If people in your network know you are interested in developing specific skills, they can share opportunities with you. These could include workshops, online classes, events, internships and more. 

Ways to build a network

Forever Buffs 
The Forever Buffs Network is a platform that allows students and alumni to connect. Undergraduate students can pursue mentorships, join networking groups, attend career-oriented events and more. When using the Forever Buffs Network, you can explore the jobs tab to see career opportunities catered to CU students. 

Students can create a LinkedIn profile to create a professional online presence. LinkedIn has unlimited opportunities to form connections, research companies and explore jobs. LinkedIn is a social media platform where you can share content to help represent your interests and knowledge.

Professors at CU have access to countless resources. Besides teaching, many professors are involved in grant funding, research, project work, on-campus internships and more. Introduce yourself to your professors and share your professional goals. Your professors may have opportunities available that match your interests. Developing these relationships now can help you maintain a strong network as you advance in your career. 

Personal relationships 
Your local community, friends, family, team members, peers and coworkers can all be vital to your network. You can start making these relationships part of your professional network by discussing your values and interests. Let people know you are searching for a job and would be interested in potential opportunities.  

Find support through Career Services

Career Services offers resources to help students prepare for the future, including searching for internships and jobs. Networking is a crucial aspect of your career journey, and it’s a skill that improves with practice.

If you feel unsure or have additional questions, schedule a Career Services appointment or join office hours on Zoom.