Everyone should network no matter what stage of your college or professional career you are in, but what is it? How do I do it? Where do I start?
1. What is it?
Networking just means developing and maintaining contacts and personal connections with a variety of people which might be helpful to you and your career in the future.
2. Why is it important?
- It will help you connect to jobs and internships.
- You have access to professional development that can help you answer questions about pursuing graduate school or attaining additional certifications to stay competitive and employable.
- It will help you gain access to industry knowledge that will show you where jobs will be in the future.
- You can create peer groups to bounce ideas off of as you excel in your career.
3. I don't really like networking and talking to people I don't know. What should I do?
Networking isn't something you do just with strangers! Your network is your family, friends, professors, co-workers, advisors, and counselors. These are all people who are invested in you and want to see you do well, so if you are ever searching for a job or need career information, ask your own personal network to help.
4. Where do I start?
LinkedIn is a great place to network online. Check out the resources at the bottom to learn how to create an effective LinkedIn profile, start making connections, and join groups.
5 Tips for Successful Networking
1. Networking is about being genuine. You want to build trust, develop relationships, and see how you can help others as well so be authentic, be yourself!
2. Know what you want to get out of networking. Make sure you connect with groups that will help you reach your goals. Some conversations are meant for learning more about different careers; some groups you talk to specifically for connecting to jobs; and other conversations may be just to build connections. Knowing your goal will help you meet the right people and ask the right questions.
3. Network before you need to. Don't wait until you need something before you decide to meet the relevant people that can help you. By developing a relationship beforehand, these contacts will have a vested interest in you and will be happy to help when the time comes.
4. Ask open-ended questions. Don't ask questions that can be answered with a Yes or No. You want to ask questions like Who, What, Where, When, and How. This will not only allow you to get more information to help you remember the person, but it shows that you're truly interested in getting to know this person and building a meaningful contact.
5. Follow through quickly on referrals you are given. If you are ever engaged in a conversation where you are referred to speak to someone else, be sure to contact that person ASAP and thank the person who referred you afterward as well. Your actions will reflect on you and the person who went through the time and effort to refer you. So be respectful and honor your referrals.
- Getting Started with LinkedIn
- Connecting with LinkedIn
- Social Media Job Search Guide
- Informational Interviewing
- Professional Organizations