What is Networking?
The Department of Labor estimates that up to 80% of positions are ﬁlled without employer advertising. If you are relying on job postings as your primary job search strategy, you’re only seeing approximately 20% of what’s out there. Networking is an informal discussion with people you already know, or have just met. Meeting people gives you an opportunity to learn from them. They can help you narrow your areas of career interests, give you inside information about the field, even help you find a job shadow, an internship, or a job.
Who is in your Network?
Your network is EVERYONE you know! It is also every person the people in your network know.
How to Grow Your Network
What are you doing right now to create or establish those important professional relationships? Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Meet with faculty or staff — especially a Career Development Specialist
- Attend employer information sessions, career fairs and expos, workshops, or other career events (visit “Events and Workshops” on the Eagle Network)
- Meet guest speakers or engage with your peers in class or through a student organization
- Talk with family, friends, and other acquaintances about their work
- Volunteer for a community service event or a charity organization
- Join a professional association related to your desired field and get involved
Using Social Media for Networking
The use of social media in learning about potential career paths, receiving feedback on job search documents (e.g., resumes), connecting with alumni, and networking with professionals in your ﬁeld of interest is becoming one of the most important avenues for a new generation of successful job seekers. Over 100 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas, and opportunities. Learn how to effectively build your proﬁle, connect with contacts, and ﬁnd opportunities. Tip: Search for and join groups based on interests and afﬁnities. Being members of a common group expands your network and gives you more professionals to connect with. However, do not rely solely on social media for networking, it is essential to get out and meet people that may be able to help you in your job search!
Maintaining Your Network
Effective networking is a two way street. Maintaining your network of contacts could benefit your career in the future, so it is important to stay in touch as well as offering up your assistance when someone else needs help. When you need a job, tap into your network to find opportunities. When you have found a position, be sure to notify your network and thank them for their assistance. Just remember to return the favor the next time someone in your network needs a new job.