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What is Networking?

Connecting with people out in the workplace will help you make better career decisions, write stronger resumes and cover letters, and conduct a more efficient and effective job search. Connecting with others (also called 'Networking') is an extremely human strategy.

Networking is NOT:   
  • Exploitive or manipulative
  • Calling or emailing people and asking for jobs
  • Pressuring your parents' friends to give you a job 
Networking IS:
  • 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:

All of these people should have an understanding of the kind of work you want to do, and perhaps know some of your key strengths/top skills. 

  1. Family
    They are the most invested in finding opportunities for you. Relatively few in number.
  2. Friends and friends of friends, friends of your family:
    Not quite as invested in you as your family, but greater in number.
  3. 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.

{{candidcareer:medium:center|1e866306e9b5f012419c, Quick networking tips}}

How to Build your Network:  

  • Conduct informational interviews with alumni and others; stay in contact with the people you meet.
  • Talk to alumni in your chosen career field and who work where you would like to work. Use LinkedIn, CareerShift and Buzzfile to develop your list of targeted employers and make connections.
  • 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 and maintain your professional online profile (synonymous with your professional reputation). Actively participate, in a professional manner, in a select few social media outlets.
  • 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).
  • 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.
Staying in Contact Means:

Light notes or email messages just a few times per year, thanking them again for taking the time to talk with you and referring to something in that conversation.  If you choose to send them an article or blog, make sure that it is something they would find genuinely useful and relevant.

  • Example:  Dear XYZ,  Just a quick note to thank you again for the advice you gave me when we spoke last winter.  Hopefully, the recent mergers between DDD and EEE are not impacting your MMM project adversely!  I did reach out to the BBB person you mentioned, and she was very helpful.  All of this information is helping me feel much more confident about the job search as I approach graduation in April.  Regards, ABC
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.

  • Example 1: I'm a recent graduate of William & 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

  • Example 2: I'm in the process of transitioning from 5 years of consulting, where I've been the point person 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.