Networking Tips for College Students and Young People Who Hate to Network


I have spoken on college campuses for many years now.  The thought of networking was a foreign concept to students in the past.  Oh, and I am not talking about being on Facebook. That is socializing, not really networking in a business sense.

I think when students thought of networking they thought “UGH, I rather stick a fork in my eye!”

I think attitudes are changing now because students see the impact of the recession in their households and know they need a lot of tools to successfully enter the job market.

So here are some of my networking tips for college students who hate to network.

First, hope is not a plan.  When my kids were growing up I used to have a saying on my fridge.  “Hope is Not a Plan.”  I hope I get into that class, I hope I pass, I hope I graduate etc.  You need a plan of action to achieve your academic goals and it is the same with networking.  You should set a strategy for what you want to achieve and who you need to meet to get you there.

You need to intensively focus your activities on getting a job. That’s key today. You need to use all of the tools available to you. You don’t have much of a choice. That means attending events where there are lots of adults versus student networking groups.  Hey, don’t get me wrong,  I think being involved with PRSA student chapters is great but the jobs and internships are at the mainstream PRSA and IABC Chapters.

It is pretty basic but you need business cards.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  If you have any design or creative courses at your school, connect with those people and have them design your cards so they are unique and distinctive.  Believe me gents, handing out business cards will make you look like much less of a… (I will let you fill in the blanks).

Register your own domain name by buying your name. You may move a lot but your personal URL will be your permanent address. It will help your SEO and the background checks that will be done in the future, will be yours forever.  Find your favorite geek to build you a one page landing page. You will keep building it for the rest of your life and that’s what websites will become in the future.

Then, hit your parents up for a budget to attend networking events.  The majority of events have student rates.  I think your parents will be more receptive to funding you attending networking events than going to Vegas for the weekend.

You need to master Linkedin.  You have no choice because that is what HR departments use.  Use a business type photo on your profile.  I can guarantee that you will look very impressive if you have a complete profile with lots of connections and recommendations.  Get recommendations from your Profs, part time jobs, volunteer connections etc. Post updates daily, not about your favorite taco but about the networking events you are going to attend.

Another tip is don’t think of your parents friends as old people.  Look at them as data bases,  Linkedin with them.  If they are in a field you are interested in, ask for a courtesy interview.  Trust me, they will be eager to help.  Most parents are instilled with secret wiring code that says you must help your friends and peers children.  It is an unwritten rule.  Leverage it.

Create the world you want to live in the future by forming it with your networking activity today.  If you want to connect with people with lots of social currency then volunteer and attend fund raising events which are excellent networking events.  A lot of people prior to the recession used to live in a world of “this is what I got.”  We saw a lot of that in the last decade.  It didn’t last and neither did its values.  These are the times to live in a world of “this is how I can help.”

Let it define your networking strategy.

Remember it is up to you to reinvent the world to your vision and create the promise of change that all ages embrace.

To contact Hank to speak to your school, company or any organizations you may be involved with send him an e- mail at or tweet him @hankblank

Connect with Hank on Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook:


Watch a video on Why Young People Shouldn’t Try to Find a Job.


35 thoughts on “Networking Tips for College Students and Young People Who Hate to Network

  1. Oscar D. Sanchez

    Hi Hank,

    This is absolutely GREAT ADVICE for all people to learn. As a Recruiter, I know the importance of networking, not only online, but in person as well. There is nothing like a hand shake and sharing 5 minutes with another professional. The impression made with just 5 minutes can easily open the doors to new opportunities. is a great resource for Networking in person.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Oscar D. Sanchez

    • Matt

      Hello Oscar,
      Good comments, I completely agree. I just saw Hank’s article and was impressed. It’s a timely reminder too. Also, I wasn’t familiar with, so thanks for that.

      Matthew Grigas

  2. Great post, but it’s hard to believe that people DON’T enjoy networking. It’s one of my favorite things to do! I love meeting new people, exchanging business cards, and conversing with mentors in my field. Networking is so incredibly important–especially in the field of communications. I guess it will only serve to set me a part; I had no idea my peers would rather fork themselves than network! I’ve been doing this since my first internship freshman year!

    I’d love some feedback on the person webpage that I have linked, even if it’s just one or two sentences. I was starting to think that I wasted my money buying and creating my own website.

    • hankblank

      Think your site is great. You are obviously above the crowd. Let’s connect on Linkedin. Have a great day. Hank

  3. Sami Riding

    Hi Hank,

    I have recently completed my final year at Salford University and I am new to Linkedin, I haven’t networked before and I didn’t know where to start. Just want to say thank you for the great advice I feel I understand how important networking really is now that I want to get started on building my career.

    Thank you again!


  4. It’s a very helpful article, especially for students like me who afraid talking to strangers, I will trying to make more friends and attend more clubs next semester! Thank you for sharing this article! Best luck to you!

  5. I love your post Hank! Definitely very informative and true! Networking is a very important to getting a job as well as expanding ones career. A lot of people do not know how much it matters. It’s always a good thing to meet new people! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Fascinating to read. As a new graduate, I am experiencing this challenge of not having a network or employment. Yesterday, before reading your blog entry, I began adding every alum of Marist College I could find. The alumni network has a list of people that will network with anyone bearing the Marist sticker. Already, I am receiving wonderful feedback from people.

    I do have a question regarding the “professional photo”. I have had the opportunity to travel a bit and enjoy the places in the world. I figure that a photo says a lot about the person. Is it better to stand out, say with an interesting photo, or wear a suit or other formal attire?

    Thank you

    • hankblank

      Thanks for this. Glad you like it. Spread the word.

      Regarding your photo. Casual photo is fine for Facebook or Twitter. Business Attire for Linkedin.

      Take care.


  7. stevefawthrop


    Glad you reposted this since I apparently missed it the first time. Besides sharing it with my two kids, 17 and 19, I posted to Twitter, FB (lots of peer parents to my kids) and various appropriate LinkedIn groups: University of Washington related groups; Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity groups and many education related groups from my previous job. So perhaps you will get some bonus traffic.

  8. Matt

    Hello Hank,

    I just read your post and this is great, an excellent reminder even for people at different points in their career. And relevant for me too, since my firm was acquired recently (moving to China) and I’m engaged in a new career search using any number of tools. So again, superb advice, there’s always something to learn. I’ve forwarded to several this morning, including a daughter in college.

  9. Nowadays networking it is not anymore an option, but a necessity. Especially for college students, who have the need of processing a lot of information in short periods of times, so that the interaction with peers in real-time becomes essentials.

  10. Heya great website! Does running a blog similar to this take
    a great deal of work? I have no understanding of programming but I was hoping to
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    I understand this is off subject but I simply wanted to ask.
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  11. My brother suggested I might like this blog.

    He was once totally right. This submit actually made my day.

    You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

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