Networking is communicating with people and developing contacts in order to locate possible opportunities. This is how the majority of people (sources claim 75-85%) get a job- not solely job search websites. Networking involves connecting with current contacts and generating new ones in the career field you are interested in. Professionalism and tact are vital if you want to get anywhere with networking. Here are some basic preparatory steps to begin building and using your network:
It may sound simple, but many people are not prepared to articulate their attributes in a way that will impress potential leads or employers. Know your career-related skills, interests, and values and be able to convey them to others.
Know the Field
Before starting a conversation with someone in a particular organization or field of interest, research that organization/field so you appear motivated and informed.
Professional Up-to-Date Resume
Always have your resume current and ready to go to a contact; you never know when you might need it.
Prepare What You Want to Say
Presenting yourself in a professional manner is essential, so you should prepare a statement of purpose. For example: “I am interested in obtaining more information about ________. I was hoping to schedule a time that I could ask you a few questions about your position, the organization you work for, and what you might recommend for someone with my background entering this field.”
Know (Specifically) What you Want
The more specific details you can provide to your contacts, the better chances people will have to help you out.
Begin Networking Early
Don’t wait until spring of your senior year to begin networking.
Be Polite and Personal
Get to know people not only from a professional perspective, but a personal one as well. Always be grateful when you receive assistance, referrals, advice, etc.
The more clubs and organizations you belong to, job and internships you have, etc., the more contacts you have.
Take Advantage of Networking Events
Attend networking events like Speed Networking and Network Nights, and career fairs like the Job and Internship Fair and CIC.
Remember Names & Follow-Up
Make it a point to remember the names of your new contacts. Make sure that you capture their contact information and remember to thank them.