Building relationships throughout your career
Networking is NOT:
- Exploitive or manipulative
- Calling or emailing people and asking for jobs
- Pressuring your parents' friends to give you a job
- Making sure that everyone you know, and everyone THEY know, knows what kind of work you are looking for.
- Being very deliberate about meeting people in your chosen career field and building relationships with them.
- You are almost certainly already networking as you ask friends and acquaintances for information and as you share information with them.
3 levels of networking:
They are the most invested in finding opportunities for you. Relatively few in number.
- Friends and friends of friends, friends of your family:
No quite as invested in you as your family, but greater in number.
- Acquaintances, both professional and personal
These people are the least personally invested in your job search, but proportionately much higher in number, especially as you work to cultivate these people.
How to build your network:
- Conduct informational interviews; stay in contact with the people you meet.
- Talk to alumni in your chosend career field and who work where you'd like to work.
- Ask your family and their friends to introduce you to people
- Join at least one professional association aligned with your career interests. Attend the conferences, workshops, networking events sponsored by your association and talk to people! Ask questions, share ideas. Stay in contact.
- Build a professional LinkedIn profile and join LinkedIn groups in your career field. Complete profiles are much more likely to be seen, fill out your profile completely.
- See if there are professional FaceBook groups aligned with your interests.
- Follow your targeted organizations on Twitter. Use hashtags to quickly get job information related to your interests. Create a TweetMyJobs account.
- Volunteer / Shadow / Intern in your chosen career field. This gives people the chance to see the quality of work you are capable of producing and what you are like to work with. Stay in contact with the people you meet.
- Attend the career panels, networking socials and employer information sessions sponsored by the Career Center (alumni are welcome to come if they are in the area) Keep an eye on our online calendar to see who is coming.
- Join the Alumni Association chapter in your area. Go to the social events they sponsor.
- Join social clubs and societies; go to the events and meet people.
- Stay in contact with your faculty.
* Experienced job seekers should build and maintain a personal brand.
Staying in contact means:
Light notes or email messages of just a few short lines thanking them again for talking with you, and what you are up to now. Or maybe you can send along an article that you think might be interesting to them, based on what you've learned in your chat.
Your elevator speech:
You should develop and practice saying your 20-second self-branding talk. In more social situations, you would only pull this out if someone asks you what you do. However, in a more job-focused conversation, such as those at a career fair, this will be one of the first things you say after introducing yourself.
I'm a recent graduate of The College of William and Mary. I'm focusing my job search in the communications and public relations field, as I've found through my internships and extracurriculars that I have a real knack for getting a point across to the public.
I'm in the process of transitioning from 5 years of consulting, where I've been the point man on the team specializing in keeping the communications with the customer clear and concise. I've proven that I can come up with the solutions that solves the customers' problems, but I'm ready to take these skills into the non-profit sector.