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Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (Fallen Patriots) believes in providing professional development opportunities for scholarship recipients to ensure continued success post-graduation. Thanks to our corporate partnerships, we are proud to facilitate unique networking opportunities to interact with each other and learn from industry professionals. 

During April, students traveled to Atlanta for an exclusive career symposium with Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC and received a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL and MLS.  One of the lessons learned was to never underestimate the power of networking.  “The top two things to help your career in college are to network with those around you and to separate yourself from your peers,” said Warren Parr, Atlanta Falcons Senior Director of Ticket Sales.  Follow these steps to begin networking today:

1)      Understand Networking is Relationship Building

Do not be intimidated by the term ‘networking’.  It doesn’t have to mean forced conversations in a stuffy setting where you are unsure of how to approach people or conduct yourself.  Networking is simply interacting with others and creating a sincere relationship.  Whether it be building trust with a roommate or taking advantage of a professor’s office hours – each connection could impact your future.  People are inherently good and like to help each other out when they can, so try to add as many people to your network as possible.  You never know if someone you were partners with in biology might be hiring someday.

2)      Get Involved on Campus

The number one way to network during college is to be involved on campus.  There are plenty of ways to do this, but it’s up to you to determine which will be most beneficial to your future goals.  A good place to start is by attending an extracurricular activities fair on campus to research which organization, club, or society is best for you.  There is usually a group representative present so you can ask questions and learn about the opportunities within the group.  When you are involved on campus, you are connecting with peers and beefing up your resume to impress future employers.

3)      Create a Linkedin Profile

LinkedIn hosts more than 500 million professional profiles, which is reason enough for us to recommend its powerful networking impact.  Many industry leaders are using LinkedIn to recruit recent college graduates for jobs and opportunities, so it’s crucial to make sure your profile is accurate.  When you discover companies that interest you, send an invitation to connect with someone who works there.  If they accept, craft a thoughtful message to request career advice or guidance. 

4)      Seek Professional Opportunities

The more experience in a professional work environment during college, the better.  When you immerse yourself in your career field early, your future self will thank you.  When you are surrounded by ‘real adults’ with ‘real experience’, you are forced to grow and meet standards.  As company leaders see younger employees taking on challenges, they may invest more into these individuals. 

The possibilities are endless for individuals who understand the power of networking.   We are proud to help our scholarship recipients make the most of the college experience by taking advantage of career development opportunities.  “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come and learn from amazing individuals.  I appreciated that the speakers (at the Atlanta career symposium) shared their life stories with us and proved that with hard work, passion, and a little luck we can achieve our career goals,” said Craig Thurber, scholarship recipient attending Indiana Tech University’s Master’s Program.