70%+ of jobs are found through networking!
Networking is effective once you feel comfortable talking about yourself and your career goals. That is why self-assessment, research and preparing your resume and marketing materials are all steps you should complete before starting to network in earnest.
Most people dislike networking (you are not alone!). However, just like you go to the gym and eat your fruits and vegetables to stay healthy, networking is an essential aspect of a healthy career. We believe that once you understand how to build and maintain a network and have had the opportunity to practice your networking skills you will not think negatively about networking again.
Networking simply means building relationships. It means getting the word out to people about what it is you do and want to do. But networking is about quality, not quantity. You can’t reach out to 100 people and expect to manage all those relationships effectively. Once you have made a connection, the next step is to nurture it by approaching this connection for information, advice, guidance, and moral support as you pursue work in your field of interest.
Although networking is easier for some than others, if you are in the market for a job, you need to learn and develop your networking skills.
Go to Career Connect and visit the Career Resources Library to get access to worksheets, videos, guides and many more resources on this topic
- Who is in Your Network?
To network effectively, the first think you need to do is determine who is in your network. Your network is much larger than you think! When thinking about who is in your network, start by listing:
- Family and friends
- Your professors/advisor and SOM staff
- Alumnae/i (graduate and undergraduate institutions)
- People who belong to the same groups as you: associations, teams, book clubs, etc.
- Former supervisors and co-workers
Let these people know what function or industry you are interested in and that you are looking to learn more about it. You never know who may have a sister, a neighbor, or a friend that works in your field of interest. Reaching out to these contacts is a good way to begin.
Put aside any feelings of awkwardness and psyche yourself up to begin making contacts. Start with the person you are most comfortable contacting with (e.g., your roommate's friend) and start scheduling informal interviews.
- Informational Interviews
Informational interviews are a great way to build your professional network and learn about organizations. Go to Career Connect and visit the Career Resources Library to get access to worksheets, videos, and guides that will prepare you for your next informational interview.
- Professional Associations
Professional associations are a great way to network with like-minded professionals, learn more about functions and industries, and stay in-tune with the latest news and trends.
Professional Associations PDF
- Conferences and Career Fairs
Attend conferences and career fairs! Conferences and career fairs are a key component of your professional devilment, networking and job hunting. We encourage all SOM students to attend as many conferences as they can. We know that it is not realistic that you attend all. We recommend that you look through the list of upcoming conferences and career fairs early in the year and find (and attend) one or two that fit your target industry and function. You can find a list of upcoming conferences by visiting the Calendar and Events sections of Career Connect.
- Networking Activity Tracking
It is important that you keep track of all your networking activities. It does not matter how you do this, what matters is that you do. Networking is about building relationships and if you do not invest the time to develop these relationships you will not be networking effectively.