Did you know that your professors are some of the most important people in your lives? A good professor can do more than just give you a great education, but they can be an excellent resource to help you advance in your professional career. A smart student will network with their professor, giving them the best chance for success!
So how can you form that relationship with a professor that will help him or her to become a valuable member of your network?
Ask them for help
Most professors are sick and tired of students who think they know it all, or who are only trying to skate their way through college without doing the hard work. Do the hard work in class, and ask your professors for extra help--even if you don’t need it. They’ll appreciate the fact that they are making a difference in your life, and will often go out of their way to help you more than you ask.
Be willing to debate
Most professors welcome a good debate. A debate is NOT the same as you showing your teacher what a smart-aleck you are, but it means showing that you have the intellectual capacity to examine common beliefs from a new angle--or at least question them. Show your professor that you’re wise enough to carry on a good debate, and it will usually endear you to them.
Share with them in return
If you’re taking an internship for your current studies, you’re going to learn a lot that the other students in your class may not know. Those with real-life experience can often share things that they have learned on the job, and that will help to make the professor’s job much easier. Their knowledge coupled with your experience on the job can be the beginning of a productive symbiotic relationship.
Show them your resume
When you’re drafting your resume, ask your professor for help. They may notice mistakes you missed, or they may have advice on how you can polish the CV. Many professors will appreciate the fact that you came to them for help.
Let them know you’re looking
It goes without saying that you want to find a good job, but let the professor know. They are often told about job opportunities that could be ideal for you, opportunities they fail to mention simply because they don’t know of any SPECIFIC students searching for a job. Just let your professor know, "I’m looking for a job in X-field", and it will increase your chances that they’ll hook you up.
Visiting your professor during office hours is a good way to stand out from the crowd, though there will often be a long line of people wanting to talk to the teacher. Arrive early in order to spend more time with the professor. Don’t demand answers, but ask questions that will show you’re paying attention to the professor’s studies.
Networking with a professor can be challenging. The relationship isn’t equal, but they will be doing a lot of favors for you. The advice above will increase your chances of establishing a good rapport with your professor. Once you’ve got that rapport, you’ll find your professor is an invaluable resource!