Monitoring your department as a student, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, can be confusing and difficult at first.
Since you’re new to the workplace, you may not know all of the ins and outs of how things work,
how others in the workplace treat each other, and how you should conduct yourself as an intern or an entry-level employee.
With that being said, here are five of the best ways to monitor your department while you are still in school to give you more insight into what your future workplace will look like.
1) Check the Job Boards Regularly
One of the best ways to monitor your department is by checking the job boards regularly.
Whether you’re looking for an internship or graduate school, there are plenty of opportunities out there! It’s also important to check alumni networks and company profiles on LinkedIn.
You never know where your next opportunity might come from, so it’s always good to stay on top of things.
Make sure that you reach out to professors if they have any connections in their field who could be helpful.
Even if they don’t have connections, they may be able to offer advice or even just an introduction.
If your professor does have connections, follow up with them about how you can get more involved in their research outside of class time so that you can work on a project together and get experience.
Join student organizations related to your career goals, such as Professional Engineers Society (PES) or Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
They often hold regular meetings, which are great places to meet people with similar interests and potential mentors.
2) Go to Career Fairs
Attending career fairs is one of the best ways to meet employers, but what if they’re not on campus?
Join an online career fair. These events allow you to network with employers without leaving your dorm room.
You’ll be able to interact with recruiters and find out about internships, full-time positions, and more. It’s also possible to customize your profile so that it appears in front of employers who are looking for specific majors or skills.
Search for organizations: You should start by searching for organizations at Rutgers or other universities in New Jersey, as well as nationally based companies such as PepsiCo and Exxon Mobil.
There’s also a search engine that lets you look up certain companies by name or industry! Just type NJ industries into Google and explore from there!
3) Attend Networking Events
Attending networking events is one of the best ways to monitor your department as a student.
Networking events will give you access to people who can help you and potentially introduce you to people who need your services.
Plus, networking events are fun and will give you new opportunities for self-improvement.
If you’re not interested in any positions at the moment, just go anyways because it never hurts to network with others.
Attend Board Meetings: Attending board meetings can provide you with more information on how your department works internally.
You should attend board meetings so that you know what type of work needs to be done and if there are any possible vacancies in your field.
For example, board meetings may discuss things like fundraising or community service.
As an intern this could be an excellent opportunity to observe leadership skills from other departments within your organization!
4) Utilize LinkedIn
If you’re not taking advantage of LinkedIn, you’re missing out on an amazing networking opportunity.
You’ll be able to see what other students are up to, read about their success stories, and network with them online.
Plus, if you have your own company or blog where you post articles or advice for other students, your profile will act as a portfolio for the work that you do outside of school.
Build relationships: Even though most people may be busy these days, it’s worth it to find time for new connections.
When you build friendships with others in your department, it makes it easier to get information from them when you need it.
Make friends: Networking is much easier when you have someone there who can introduce you and vouch for your credibility.
Build a support system by getting involved in clubs at school or having friends in similar classes as yours.
5) Get an Internship
Internships are an excellent way of getting experience in your desired field and can open up doors for you that might not have been accessible otherwise.
Plus, it’s beneficial for the company too because they get free labor.
As a student, internships are also a great way of monitoring your department. If the internship is with your desired department,
then you’ll be able to see firsthand what the day-to-day work looks like.
If it isn’t with your desired department but is within another related one (for example: Marketing), then you’ll still be able to see what kind of projects/responsibilities will most likely be expected when working in that area.
I recommend interning at least twice if you want to monitor your department well.
Not only does this give you more opportunities for practice, but it will allow you more time to explore different aspects of the profession that interest you.
Another tip I would give students is try to seek out internships in other companies as well, even if they don’t pertain to your desired career path or industry sector.
You never know where or how something could come back around; we live in such a connected world nowadays.