A Different Kind of Relationship Building for February 14th

By Natalie Hansen

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and your time is probably spent thinking about what to do for that special someone. If you’re single, maybe you’re more focused on taking the day for yourself. Regardless of your love life status, as a business student you should take this time to reflect on a different type of relationship – the kind that sets you up for success.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “it’s all about who you know” more times than you’d like to remember. Cliché or not, it’s true – your education and work ethic are your solid (and necessary) foundation, but your network is how you eventually land that dream job, according to LinkedIn. Take this Valentine’s Day to implement the top five ways the CSU College of Business has developed to strengthen your network and lay the groundwork for your future:

1) Send “thank you” cards to professors, supervisors and other professionals who have helped you grow.

Networking expands your support system.

You’ve hopefully been able to use your college career to build relationships and find mentors whomyou admire. It’s not only about who you know – it’s also about who THEY know. Professors you’ve connected with, bosses who taught you valuable skills, and professionals you’ve met through classes and recruitment events all know numerous other people who may be your ticket to a great job. These are also the folks you want on your side when it comes time to ask for letters of recommendation. Choose a few who’ve made a great impact on you, and send a thank you card letting them know how they’ve helped you. Try for a hand-written note instead of an email. They’ll remember you and be willing to put in a good word for you when you need it.

2) Learn how to use LinkedIn to your advantage and update your profile.

LinkedIn is a necessity in your social media repertoire. Even when you have a steady job, maintaining your LinkedIn page can connect you with numerous other professionals. Those leaders you sent thank you cards to? Make sure you’ve added them on LinkedIn, and ask for a recommendation on your page. Use the site’s tools to upload examples of your work to your profile. Undercover Recruiter recommends staying active in groups and discussions, having a professional (no bathroom pictures, no pictures with pets) photo, and personalizing your URL.

3) Bring treats to work on Friday and show appreciation to co-workers.

Valentine’s Day is a source of major sales for the candy industry – Business Insider notes that Americans will spend over a billion dollars on sugar and chocolate this week. Use the excuse to indulge and bring treats to share with your co-workers. Co-workers can often be valuable references when applying for jobs. When they have a successful career, they’ll be able to connect you to valuable resources. Show your co-workers how much you appreciate them and make an impression by bringing in cookies, candy or baked goods (bonus points if they’re homemade).

4) Take care of yourself.

Taking time to de-stress is important; it can help make sure you’re in top form for your classes, internship, job and networking events. If you’ve been wanting to splurge on a massage, now is a great time. The Student Recreation Center has some affordable options. You can also treat yourself to weekend excursion out of town, extra time at the gym, your favorite dessert or even just some alone time with a good book. Whatever it is, carve out some time to relax.

5) Learn how to talk to recruiters on Thursday, Feb.13.

Students and recruiters mingle at the 2014 Spring Job and Internship Expo.

Knowing how to present yourself to recruiters and potential employers can be intimidating. You only get one chance at a first impression. Understanding how to put your best foot forward is important. The College of Business Career Management Center is offering some tips this Thursday, Feb. 13th. Learn how to talk to the companies and recruiters that visit campus at the Bohemian Auditorium in Rockwell Hall West from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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As business students, the relationships you have in your network can make all the difference in your career. During this holiday for relationships, make time this week for your professional connections. What networking tips and tricks have you discovered?