Networking is all about making connections and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships. Have you ever heard the saying, it's not what you know but who you know? Networking on and off campus can help give you insight into future careers or future graduate school programs. With an estimated 60-80 percent of all jobs being unadvertised, this makes networking critical. Your next big job may be the result of knowing someone affiliated with the company or a professor on campus who has ties to industry.
Whether you are meeting with a staff member on campus or an employer at a career fair, here are some tips for networking beginners from Payscale.com:
- Set Goals - Are you looking for your first job or internship? Are you looking for a mentor in your field? Setting clear objectives on what you are trying to achieve will help you reach your goals.
- Keep Track - It is easy to forget names and where you meet people so develop some type of record keeping system. A spreadsheet or a file for business cards is a great start.
- Expand Your Network - Once you have a small network established expand upon it by adding on high school contacts, old colleagues from previous jobs/internships, or tap upon family and friends. It is a good idea to look outside of your immediate circle.
- Make Business Cards and Use Them - Business cards are quick and easy to pass out at events or if you're just out and meet someone. There are many websites that offer low cost printing for business cards. Make sure the card includes your major and contact information.
- Maintain Real Professional Relationships - A key component of networking is keeping in contact. Real networking works both ways so be sure to help others when you can.
Are you an introvert? Does networking make you nervous? To make things a little easier, here are a few things to help decrease your anxiety about networking:
- Volunteer at the event. Serving as a volunteer may mean signing people in at the registration table where you would meet everyone in attendance but eliminates some of the small talk
- Attend events with a friend or colleague. Your friend or colleague can introduce you to people or initiate the conversation.
- Get there early. If you are late, people have already begun to form small groups and this can make it event more nerve-racking.
Reference is here.
Here are a few additional ways you can gain more contacts for your network while you're still a student:
- Don't forget about your professors and staff members on campus!
- Attend university sponsored events
- Utilize your internship, co-op, and other outside jobs
- Get involved in campus and community organizations
- Use social media, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to interact with others in your area of interest
Want to practice your networking skills? Check out the Intern 101 Professional Development: Networking event on Monday, April 21, 2014 at noon in Lecture Hall 1. For more information, check out the event page here: http://careers.umbc.edu/news_events/calendar.php
Below are links to more resources on networking.
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION:
What networking techniques have been helpful for you?