"It's not what you know, it's who you know." - Every modern business professional
You may or may not have heard many people use this phrase in classes, work, talks, presentations, but what does it actually mean? Do you need to get a degree if you have to know people to get a good job? Short answer: Yes, a degree or certification is how you get the skills necessary to be qualified to work in the business world. However, knowing people in your desired workplace, or even just someone who's career is what you're studying, can be a very helpful tool in building your career, whether it be one company forever, or several over a period of time.
Where do I start building a network?
While this question can seem daunting, the answer is relatively simple: anywhere. The easiest way is to join organizations at college that align with your interests, or what you want to do after college. Delta Sigma Pi is a great example of this; students coming together with similar interests to help each other grow professionally, and learn and develop skills to help them in their college and professional careers. Other examples of great places to get involved are: the American Marketing Association; Women in Business; the Advertising Club; social, religious, or academic/honors greek life/societies, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; the Black Student Union; Student Senate; etc.!
Another way to get an insight into a specific company you're interested in working for is to ask your professors. Typically, your class syllabus will include some basic information about your professor, but they will usually also talk about their job experience on the first day of class.
How do I stay in touch with my network?
There are two easy ways to keep in touch with connections, no matter where you make them: Having a LinkedIn profile, or carrying business cards.
In today's business world, everyone should have a LinkedIn account. It is, essentially, an online resume and helps employers see you are engaged in business. College students typically have relevant work experience, volunteer experience, leadership experience, and relevant courses taken, to show how they are preparing for after college. It should also include extracurricular activities you are involved in, and any leadership positions held. It is also helpful to have your URL be your name, so that connections can easily find you, or it's easy to share. It should also contain a professional headshot as your profile picture!
Here is a brother's LinkedIn profile for an idea of what it could include. A lot of people have different preferences about what should be included in one's profile, but if you think about it like an online resume, it will help with what you think is relevant information for potential employers.
Business cards are a great resource to have on hand when attending career fairs, conferences, tours, etc. They are a simple way to hand out information to multiple people at once, without having to repeat yourself. Also, if you are the only person with business cards at an event, it makes you more likely to be remembered! They're easy to make, and Avery.com lets you print them for free at home, if you purchase the perforated paper at your local grocery store.
All you need is some simple information: your name, email, phone number, and organization/college. It is also helpful to put your position in an organization or club, if you have a leadership position. Or, if you don't have a leadership position, you can put your major(s)/minor(s) that you are studying. Here are a brother's business cards, as a reference:
There are several websites that give advice on how to pick the perfect major in college, but how do you know which one is your perfect major? Based on some light research and some brother testimonials, here are some ways to explore any college or university and pick something great.
How to Pick a Major
First, how do you start to pick a major? One article by Zety gives a step-by-step guide, of which some highlights are:
One piece of advice we'd like to add to this list is to join clubs! One great way to learn if something is just an interest or something you want to pursue as a career is to join clubs. Sometimes, clubs will have alumni or professionals in the respective field(s) come in and talk, so members can ask questions.
What about double majors and minors?
What if you have multiple interests you want to study in your college career? Consider a minor, or a double major. At GVSU, adding another major or minor is relatively easy, especially with the help of an academic advisor. For example, Several of our brothers are double majoring with Finance and Accounting, since the two programs are so similar, credit-wise.
Also, there are several minors that are compatible with GVSU general education requirements. Two of our brothers are minoring in Anthropology, which spreads over many general education requirements, and also is something they are both passionate about. (It's generally a nice bonus.)
Interested in how Grand Valley programs work? Here is a complete list of GVSU major and minor programs.
How did Brothers Know?
We asked some of our brothers why they chose their major, or how they knew it was the right fit for them. Here is what they said:
Remember, most schools allow students to wait until the end of their sophomore year to officially declare their major(s). We don't necessarily recommend this, but not everyone knows what they want to do the second they graduate high school, and many people change their minds during their college career.
Many podcasts, YouTube channels, books, influencers, professionals, and professors tell people every day to start investing early. What some of them fail to mention, though, is how? How do you start investing, where do you start investing, and how do you know you need start now, in the first place? You have come to the right place! Based on research and a some advice from a financial advisor, here is a great place to jump from, when looking at how to invest as a young adult.
Advice From a Financial Advisor
We reached out to a financial advisor, who wishes to remain anonymous, and asked him how to start investing as a college student. Before we even started the interview, he said to first think about six questions he gave us. Here is some advice he gave, along with some other information:
Q: The money you are thinking of investing, what's it for?
A: Is it for anything in particular, or are you just looking to start investing? If you are looking to invest for a particular reason, be sure you have money put away just in case the market does go down for a while.
Q: Do you have other funds to use if you have an emergency?
A: Like mentioned previously, be sure to have money put away just in case your car breaks down, you get sick, etc. It's always good to have this money in general, but be sure to have money set aside separate from your investment money (aka what you plan on investing), just in case something should happen, and then if the market does dip, you aren't losing your emergency funds.
Q: If you were to invest this money, and you saw that it had gone down in value in a month - what do you think you would do/think?
A: Don't get scared and pull out of investments when the market dips! In general, investing is a waiting game.
Q: What books have you read or classes have you taken about investing?
A: Every business student at GVSU is required to take Finance 320, which gives the basics of moving money and investing. There are tons of great books on investing, here are some of our recommendations:
Q: Do you follow any investing blogs?
A: One great blog to follow is A Wealth of Common Sense. The article linked specifically talks about what you want your money to do for you. We also recommend the College Info Geek podcast and website. It is a great place to learn about study skills; personal development skills; advice on how to start investing; building a great resume, cover letter, and portfolios; and how to advance in the workplace while bettering yourself. The creator of the website even has a YouTube channel, where you can watch sister videos to the blog posts, if you don't feel like reading or listening to the podcast.
So you have a big meeting coming up, a presentation for class, an interview, or a job fair coming up, and you aren't sure whether the outfit you picked out is business professional or business casual. You've been told by your professors and friends what they think business professional is, but you still aren't entirely clear on what the guidelines are. Well, don't worry, everyone has been in the same boat at one time or another. However, they did not have the resources of the Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity to help them!
Here is YOUR Delta Sigma Pi - Lambda Xi How To Dress Guide!
Sometimes, the dress code for any workplace varies, depending on the work culture, so our tips are typically based on the work culture of companies brothers/alumni/professors have experience with and some light research. Be sure to check with coworkers about the workplace culture to be sure you never come over- or under-dressed!
For more information, please visit the following sites:
Congratulations to Kira for being our September 2019 Brother of the Month! Kira currently sits as our acting Senior Vice President and sits as one of the very first faces new pledges see as a point of contact, and acts as one of our largest advocates for the mantra "Recruitment never really stops." Thank you Kira for helping the Lambda Xi chapter in everything you do, and for being an amazing brother!