Ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know”? Well, for better or worse, that’s true in many cases. So, creating strategic relationships can greatly improve your chances of job-search success. Many students will land their first job through their network of contacts. So, the power of networking should not be underestimated. A networking meeting can take the form of a casual dinner party conversation or that of a formal appointment with a company representative. A great way to network is to conduct informational interviews to learn more about your field of study or one that you are considering. You could also attend Career Fairs to make initial contacts with recruiters.
In addition to making referrals to hiring managers and supervisors on your behalf, your network can help you obtain information about certain companies and link you to contacts who may work in the very company you are interested in.
6 Easy Steps to Build Your Network
Strengthen your existing connections.
Getting in touch with old friends, distant relatives, and people you went to school with can be a first step because you are reaching out, without approaching complete strangers. Give them a phone call or send them an email to find out where they are living, in what fields they are working, and with which companies. Tell them what you are doing and mention your job search, if appropriate. Also build your list of contacts from directories (like those used by religious and community organizations), professional associations, civic groups, church members, and LinkedIn Groups.
Find out who knows whom.
When you’re talking to people, find out what they do for a living and for fun, as well as what their spouses or significant others, nearby family members, and close friends do for work and recreation.
Invite people out! Get to know them.
Going out for lunch, drinks, or coffee is great for casual networking. You can also invite people to do things related to your interests. If you live in different areas, keep in touch by email to engage your contacts. Ask them periodically what projects they are working on or if they plan to travel in the next few months. You may be in the same area when they are traveling.
Don’t get someone’s business card or email address and forget about it. Find a way to stay in touch. Work actively and purposefully to maintain your network.
Tap into your Network.
The next time you need something (a job or even an exercise partner), cast a wide net and see what happens. Make a few phone calls or send out an email describing your situation in a friendly tone and to ask for assistance.
Use the Internet.
Social networking has evolved over the years to become a business-networking tool, as well. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ create a great opportunity for you to develop online contacts. LinkedIn allows you to network by geographic location, career interest, alumni associations, and organizations, so this is a great tool. Twitter is a fast-paced way to learn up-to-date information about your field of interest and those who are in it. Facebook should be used cautiously in professional networking. Make sure that your profile is professional and free of any embarrassing pictures.
You are Networking When You…
- Attend Career Fairs
- Volunteer on campus or in the community
- Strike up a conversation on the Square
- Attend conferences or meetings
- Attend panel discussions
- Visit with faculty within your department/major
- Talk to others at sporting events or in the Grove
A Networking Opportunity Can Occur Anywhere!
Helpful Handouts for Networking
Here are some helpful handouts:
Also, here are some helpful articles and tips for Networking:
- “Career Networking Tips for College Students”
- “The 5 Best Ways to Network While You’re Still in College”
- “Networking Tips for College Seniors”
- “Essential Networking Tips for Graduate Students”
- “Our Experts Said: How to Network Your Way into a Graduate Job”
Want to build your network of Ole Miss Alumni?
- Click here to visit the Rebel Network website.
In today’s society that is driven by social media, developing a personal brand is more important than ever. Below, we have some resources that can help you develop your own personal brand!