What is a Network and Networking?

A formal network is a web of systematically developed contacts and relationships. Networking is the process of developing those contacts, and provides a way to:

  • Exchange information
  • Increase confidence
  • Refine communication skills
  • Get advice and moral support
  • Meet new people
  • Form on-going professional relationships

What are the Benefits of Networking?

  • Learn about job openings
  • Increase interviewing confidence
  • Obtain job search advice
  • Gather industry information

Networking Activities that Help Build Your Confidence and Your Resume

Prepare a self-introduction or “elevator speech” (no longer than two minutes) which informs the listener of your knowledge, skills, and background. Always have your business cards handy!

  • Conduct informational interviews with professors, alumni, classmates
  • Join and become involved in professional associations
  • Attend structured networking events
  • Make cold calls to  professionals in your field of interest
  • Consider social situations networking opportunities
  • Attend and present at conferences

Using Online Social Networking Sites

Online social networking is one method or tool for establishing a professional network. Online networking, on sites such as LinkedIn or Plaxo, builds communities with others who share common interests or activities. Some benefits to professional online networking are:

  • Provides access to a large number of professionals as well as resources in your field
  • Eases ability to research an organization including its financial “health” and track record
  • Gives increased visibility; increases chances of  finding people with similar educational and work backgrounds
  • It’s immediate and can be done 24/7

Guidelines to Online Social Networking

Dos Dont’s
Use professional networking sites (LinkedIn vs. Facebook) Falsify or embellish information
Include a professional picture; remove any online information that is  unprofessional Write negative remarks about organizations, employers, colleagues (or yourself!)
Create statements with key skills and accomplishments (similar to resume); ensure information is accurate and truthful State you that you are in a job search if your current employer is not aware that you are
Use  industry specific key words Provide updates on irrelevant activities
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