Up to 80% of jobs people find are through Networking! There’s definitely some truth to the popular saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And perhaps more importantly, it’s not who you know, but who knows you. You have to become known by people in your field not just to get your foot in the door at one company, but to keep progressing in your career. Arguably, this is one of the most important tasks to perform during and after graduation.
Those who are good at networking understand that there is give and take. Always express appreciation for the assistance you receive, and offer help in return whenever possible. As you begin to meet professionals in fields of interest, you will notice that most in your network will not have hiring power. However, they will offer career advice and valuable information while steering you toward those who do have hiring power.
Meeting professionals in your field of interest will allow you to hear first-hand information about what that career is like.
Network in order to:
-Conduct research on an industry or organization
-Prepare for an interview
-Gather information if seeking opportunities in an unfamiliar city
-Learn about potential internship or job opportunities
While in-person networking is most effective, it is often necessary to initiate a connection in another way (phone, email) in order to arrange an in-person meeting. Send an email first. Do not include your resume if you are contacting a professional for the first time and have had no previous correspondence with or introduction to her/him. Say in your email that you will follow-up with a phone call, and do so within three or four business days of when you originally send your message.
Once you are ready to contact a professional by phone, be prepared for the inevitable game of phone tag and the possibility of catching your contact off guard. It may help to specify when you plan to call in your original email. For example, “I will call you on Wednesday afternoon to see if we could arrange a time to meet.”
In all correspondence with a professional:
-Make a connection between you and the reader
-State your purpose without pressuring the reader
-Explain your situation briefly
-Request a meeting or conversation at a mutually convenient time, indicate that you will call to make arrangements
-Remember: When networking, never start out asking for an internship or job!