Networking involves making connections and maintaining relationships with people who support you throughout each phase of your career. Your network of contacts may help you to choose the right career, find rewarding opportunities, develop your skills, and achieve your goals.
Networking may seem daunting, but start now by following these easy steps:
Make your passions and goals known to peers, relatives, and professors and ask for guidance or referrals.
Connect with thousands of alumni through social and professional networking sites including inCircle, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Put yourself out there and meet new people at events on campus and throughout D.C.
Make yourself known by actively participating in on-campus organizations and professional associations related to your field.
Build relationships and gain relevant experience by volunteering with organizations that match your passions and career goals.
Stay in touch with former supervisors and colleagues.
Arrange informational interviews with professionals in your field and ask about what they do, how they got there and what advice they have.
Seven Secrets of Successful Networking
Prepare an "elevator speech." When introducing yourself, be prepared to share your academic and professional achievements and intended goals within 30 – 60 seconds.
Act with confidence even if you feel shy or intimidated, and always speak passionately about your interests and accomplishments.
Communicate in a warm and sincere way. Learn people’s names, make eye contact, and listen intently.
Follow through with referrals, and always thank your contacts in writing for their time and assistance.
Look for ways that you and your contacts can help each other, and build a reputation of being a resource for others.
Create a system for tracking contact information and notes.
Manage your “online image” and be cautious about what employers might find.
(Secrets shared by Career Center advisors and School of Communication Professor Chris Palmer)
LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional networking site with more than 175 million members in over 200 countries and territories. It is a critical brand-building tool that allows you to:
Build and manage your professional presence.
Connect professionally with classmates, faculty, family, work or internship colleagues, and other key contacts.
Find new career opportunities.
Manage and maintain your list of professional contacts.
Most professionals use and take LinkedIn seriously. While an established presence on Facebook is good, a strong, polished presence on LinkedIn can set you apart in the job market. Learn how to network and build your online brand with LinkedIn.
Facebook is more than a social outlet; it is also an important career tool. According to a recent Jobvite poll, 44 percent of all social media job-seeking activity happens on Facebook. With this in mind and depending on your use, you may wish to keep your Facebook account public, private, or grant certain individuals access to certain sections.
Alternatively, you may consider creating a separate account for professional use. It is important to remember, however, that anything you post on Facebook could be visible to future employers, so be mindful of your content. Learn how to network and build your online brand with Facebook.
Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions, and news. If you are looking to obtain internships, full-time jobs, or networking opportunities you should use Twitter to improve your industry knowledge and social media marketing skills.
Active job seekers should follow a targeted list of companies on Twitter and send tweets regularly. A professional tweet should engage employers and industries of interest. Your professional tweets should include questions, address trending topics, and/or demonstrate your subject-matter knowledge and interest. Learn how to network and build your online brand with Twitter.
It is common for working professionals to exchange business cards in networking settings. While students are not expected to have business cards, some students find it useful to order them for networking purposes. Business cards can be ordered through companies like Vistaprint, UPS, or FedEx Office, to name a few. The Career Center does not work with or endorse one vendor over another.