Networking can be confusing and a little bit scary if you are not a naturally extroverted person. According to the Career and Professional Development Center’s Networking Guide, “Networking is about building relationships that provide an opportunity to learn from other’s experience, explore career options, hone interview techniques, and potentially obtain job search leads.”
While networking may lead you to a job, it is important to remember that networking is not about asking for a job. Here are some tips and strategies to help you network effectively:
If you are new to networking, it can be helpful to talk to those already in your network. Consider reaching out to friends, relatives, professors, internship or employment supervisors, coaches, or people who go to your church. Ask them about their professional journey and recommendations they may have as you enter the field.
If you do not already have a profile on LinkedIn, you should consider setting one up. LinkedIn is a social media site dedicated to networking. You can use it to connect professionally with others in your field of interest, join professional groups, follow companies you are interested in and search for jobs. You can also use Twitter to network by following and interacting with people in your field. Additionally, companies often tweet about job openings. If you are going to use your Twitter profile to network, you should make sure that it is professional by tweeting primarily about items related to your field of interest.
Since networking is an effective job searching strategy, organizations will often hold events during which professionals can network. The Career and Professional Development Center provides various opportunities for students to network. This includes events like the annual Career & Grad School Expo, “Into the City” career immersion programs and Pizza with Professionals. Another option is to attend a professional conference. There is usually a cost to attend, but it is possible to get a grant from SGA to cover the cost of traveling and attending.
To view CPDC’s Networking Guide and for more information about networking, visit http://www.messiah.edu/info/21121/search_for_a_job/1739/networking.