Making professional relationships in college work for you
Building professional relationships will be an increasing priority over the course of your academic journey. These relationships will help you create important connections and introduce you to other beneficial networking opportunities.
Where can you find these types of professional relationships?
The best place for college students to find these relationships are on campus. Most college students make their personal connections by becoming friends with their peers or classmates. According to a Cengage survey, 33 percent of students have met their closest friends in classes, and 31 percent by being involved with student organizations or clubs. While it is important to maintain these personal relationships with your peers, it is equally important to be building professional relationships with your professors, tutors, advisors, etc. These relationships will help you build your interpersonal skills, which are necessary for your social and professional growth.
When will I need these professional relationships the most?
As a college student, professional references should include individuals that know you from professional experiences; for example, individuals like your bosses, professors, tutors and advisors. There will be a time when you are applying for a job or scholarship, and the application will ask you for professional references or even letters of recommendation (LORs). Since these professional references cannot include your friends or family, the relationships you’ve cultivated with professors, bosses and fellow students will provide many choices when you’re looking for references. It is unprofessional to use someone as a reference without first asking for permission, so make sure you let whomever you use know that that they may be contacted for a reference.
According to a Gallup survey, college students who had caring professors were almost twice as likely to be engaged at work than those who did not. If a professor is willing to refer or give you a LOR, it is certain that they care about your future success. These relationships do not come without effort. So, yes that means going the extra mile: by getting to know your professors a little more, asking questions, being engaged and showing off your qualities that are desired in a job or scholarship candidate.
All relationships start with hello, so next time, say hi!