Networking is about how to establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships for personal and professional success.
Networking is the #1 job search strategy!
With the rise of social media like LinkedIn and Facebook, it has never been easier to build and maintain a group of supporters.
Itâ€™s not just who you know, but who knows you!
Develop a list of contacts
Talk to the obvious people (your family, former co-workers, faculty, advisors) as well as people you wouldn't normally include in your job search (your doctor, dentist, clergy, hairdresser). Use the Building a Network worksheet to get started.
Many professional associations have student chapters or allow students to join at a discounted rate. Association meetings are an excellent way to mingle with professionals in the field.
Always be aware of how you act and what you say (in person and online) â€“ you never know when there is a potential contact right in front of you.
Prepare your one-minute elevator pitch and if a conversation lends itself, speak up and let people know that you are in the job market.
Don't let fear or discomfort stop you from making contacts. Instead of thinking,
â€œI don't want to impose or ask others to help me,â€ think, â€œEvery contact I make brings me closer to my job.â€
» To build your network, request to connect with coworkers, classmates, friends, faculty, and professionals in your field.
» Join career-specific groups in your areas of interest including the "Kent State University Career Services Center" LinkedIn group where you can engage in conversations regarding careers with other students, alumni, professionals, and employers.
» To join a group, log in to your LinkedIn account, go to the search bar on the top of the screen, choose the "Groups" option. Type in the group name and select "Join Group".
» Be sure to update "Group Settings" to receive a weekly digest email so that you can stay up-to-date with current discussions about careers.
Get in touch with your contacts and solicit their assistance
When contacting someone you don't know, be professional in your approach, explain your purpose, and remember to respect their schedule. You must formally get permission to use a person's name, and other contact information, if you wish to have them assist you in your job search.
Give your contacts a copy of your resume and explain the type of career you are seeking. The better they understand your interests and goals, the more effectively they can assist you.
Never ask a contact for a job. Instead of asking â€œCan you get me a job at your law firm?â€, ask: â€œDo you know of any openings at your firm?â€ Many organizations have Employee Referral Programs and tap their own staff to help them find new hires.
Don't ask inappropriate personal questions. This is a professional interaction and the impression you leave will determine how hard that contact will work on your behalf.