Many job openings are never advertised or publicly announced but filled through networking contacts. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” makes networking an effective and efficient way to find employment.
Networking means developing a broad list of contacts and accessing them when looking for a job. The best place to start developing your network is with your family, friends, and neighbors, because they know how great you are! Expand your network with your Career Coach, alumni, professors, and professionals working in your field.
Continue to broaden your network through volunteering, participating in extra-curricular activities, completing internship experiences, and joining professional student organizations. Your Career Coach can help you identify alumni in the Student Alumni Mentor Network who have volunteered to help students in their networking efforts.
Informational interviews with professionals working in your field will help you gain more information about an occupation or an industry. These individuals can also help you expand your network by referring you to their colleagues and co-workers. You can conduct your informational interviews in person, by telephone, or via email. Ask the individual what he/she prefers (see Informational Interviewing).
Prior to scheduling informational interviews, make sure you have a well-developed, targeted resume. Your Career Coach can help to ensure you are marketing your qualifications appropriately. During the informational interview, ask for advice on your resume and offer to leave a copy with your contact. Make sure to send a follow-up thank you letter or email in a timely fashion showing your appreciation for your contact’s time and assistance.
Consider developing a spreadsheet or database for organizing your networking contacts. This will help you track the contact you’ve had with this ever-expanding list! Remember, in order for your networking contacts to remember you and your skills, you must continue communicating.
Above all, networking is a skill that requires practice and patience. You will use these networking skills throughout your career. Every relationship you develop increases the likelihood of your getting a job offer!
Build Your Network Through:
- Alumni and Employer Contacts
- Alumni Organizations
- Networking Sites (LinkedIn)
- Faculty and Advisors
- Clubs and Professional Organizations
- Former Employer Contacts
- Family, Friends, and Neighbors
- Sororities and Fraternities
- Church Groups
- Hobby/Sport Groups
- Conferences, Seminars, Workshops
- Political Groups
- Service Providers (dentist, insurance agent, etc.)
- Volunteer Organizations
“Students think networking is about who you know. More importantly, it is about who knows you.” Bill Scott
GE American Communications