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Handshake over coffee

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:

Know Yourself

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.

Get Involved

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.

Key Networking Resources

  • IC Mentor Connect - IC Mentor Connect allows you to both re-connect with old classmates as well as enabling you to utilize the trusted Ithaca College.
  • LinkedIn IC Alumni - Want to know what an alumnus/a is doing? Find someone doing something interesting? Explore LinkedIn’s alumni search feature.
  • Alumni Directory - This resource will help you connect with IC Alums via e-mail. Great to use with LinkedIn Alumni.