I always heard that “everyone in the airline industry kinda knows everybody,” and now after one year of working in the industry full-time, I can confirm this is indeed seem to be the case. However, I have come to learn that this is not just limited to the airline industry; I’ve had quite a few conversations with people—from people that work for financial institutions to the person who cuts my hair—that their respective industries are small and tight-knit; the closeness of these people in their industries can be attributed to networking.
Exchanging ideas and having conversations with co-workers, attending industry events, working on group projects, or just randomly meeting somebody that is in the same industry as you are all examples of networking. They are opportunities to interact and learn what a person and/or their company does, share information about what you/your company does, exchange ideas, and just to get to know a person. I promise networking isn’t boring; it’s quite enjoyable because you get to have conversations with people, learn something, and see how interconnected this giant world actually is!
Networking is vital to one’s career, and ultimately you start developing your professional network during your first semester of college. Here are four networking tips for college students:
- Attend Company Information Sessions
Throughout the semester, there are a variety of companies and alum that come to campus to provide information about their company and what the day-to-day life is like in their job. Make sure to complete some research beforehand so you can ask questions to enhance the learning experience. Also, don’t be afraid to stop by and chat with the company representatives after!
- Attend the Industry/Career Expos
Even if it’s your first semester in college or you are not ready to apply for internships/full-time opportunities, you should attend. This is a great way to learn about companies, their culture, and opportunities. Plus, many of the same recruiters come back semester after semester, and they’ll recognize you which usually helps the conversation flow a lot easier.
Again, I strongly encourage you to do some research beforehand about the company and any potential opportunities they have on their website or Handshake. Being prepared and having good questions will definitely help the recruiters remember you!
- Reach out to Alum
Say while on LinkedIn, you notice an alum that has your dream job; don’t hesitate to send a message and request to connect. I know it seems daunting, but remember, you already have something in common (Embry-Riddle!). It’s a really great way to get the perspective of somebody that is out in industry and to ask them questions about what they do. If you’re uncomfortable reaching out to somebody on LinkedIn, stop by the Career Services Office or even a professors’ office to help you connect with alum in industry!
- Know Your Classmates
“If sitting in the front row, make sure you know everybody that sits behind you, including those in the back row, and vice versa,” remarked one alum when visiting my airline management class a few years ago. This is excellent advice because you never know who you’ll run into again out in industry.
Also, some of your classmates may already have internship experience and can sometimes introduce you to some of the people they worked with. In fact, it was a fellow student at the time that introduced me to somebody he worked with during his internship at Delta that lead me to interviewing and eventually interning in the same department later.
Jack Harty graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration in December 2017. While on campus, he worked as a student assistant and ambassador for the Career Services Office on campus. He is now a flight schedule analyst for Delta Air Lines.