More and more colleges are creating opportunities for students, graduates and alumni to interact, get to know one another and when appropriate gain career assistance. These events may be advertised with a clear career networking focus or have another social or cultural emphasis like a gallery visit, happy hour at a pub or presentation by a faculty member or prominent alumna. These programs might be sponsored by career offices, alumni offices or regional alumni groups. Check with your college's career services office, alumni affairs operation and local alumni club for a schedule of upcoming events.  The next step will be to take full advantage of these events by presenting yourself in a viable way and making as many helpful contacts as possible once you have identified opportunities to network through your school.  As well as their career and employer affiliations in advance of the program, ask the event sponsors for a list of prospective participants. Identify alumni who are working in fields or for employers of interest and make sure that you find a way to approach them at the event. Research their field, employer or industry to identify some trends and challenges in their sector. This will help you to ask more sophisticated questions.

The most out of college networking events

Prepare a list of questions prior to the program. Make sure that you are genuinely interested in hearing responses or you might seem stiff or insincere. Ask your career office to share a source for examples of these types of queries. Be prepared to offer some informationabout your interests, talents, skills, accomplishments and/or goals. In case you have not furnished them with a sense of who you are and where you're headed, it will be very hard for the assembled alumni to help you. Research some career fields of interest so you can share some possible targets (it can be more than one area if you present a solid rationale for targeting each career). It will be important to at least share some of the skills you enjoy utilizing which have led to some successes in class, work, athletics or co-curricular life even in case you can't name a specific field or articulate a coherent goal. Practice a brief introduction or  elevator speech which can be delivered in 20 - 30 seconds. The content can focus on your career status and interests in case the event has been advertised with a career theme. your introduction might contain some more general information connecting you to the theme of the program, for example "As an art history major I really enjoy modern art and was excited to hear that an alumna was exhibiting at this gallery for other events.  Be patient as you cultivate a personal connection with alumni. Look for a common basis like a shared interest, college sport, club or faculty contact. Asking them about the most rewarding aspects of their college experience can help move things along. Hang around afterwards as the group thins out and some of the really motivated helpers will still be available.