What is Networking?
A formal network is a web of systematically developed contacts and relationships. Networking provides a way to: exchange information, increase confidence, refine communication skills, get advice and moral support, meet new people, and form ongoing professional relationships.
What are the benefits of networking?
The benefits may include:
- Learning about job openings
- Increasing interviewing confidence
- Obtaining job search advice
- Gathering pertinent industry information
Networking Activities To help Build Your Confidence And Your Resume:
- Prepare a self-introduction or “Bumper Sticker” or “Elevator Pitch” which informs the listener of your knowledge, skills, and background.
- Conduct informational interviews with professors, alumni, and classmates.
- Join and become involved in professional associations.
- Attend structured networking events (such as the School of Public Health’s Career Connect)
- Make cold calls to professionals in your field of interest.
- Consider your routine social situations as networking opportunities.
- Attend and present at conferences.
- Always have your business cards handy
- Respect your energy for people-time, whatever it may be: Plan time before and after the connection to rejuvenate–alone or with a trusted friend. Don’t network every day or on days when you can predict your people-contact will be heavy.
- Use one-to-one networking strategies as much as possible: If possible, limit or avoid opportunities for networking in large groups of people you don’t know or don’t know well. Remember, highly social, opportunistic gatherings are only one of many effective methods of networking.
- Use email when possible and appropriate: You may introduce yourself to someone via email and request a conversation at a later date. However, do not email someone who never uses or doesn’t like using email. In some cases, your contact may even want to respond to your questions entirely online.
- Do as much “reading research” as possible before you network: Visit departmental web sites, ask for organizational reports or gather other promotional materials if you are exploring a particular job or department. If you are exploring a new career, visit these sites:
- Write down questions and topics you want to cover: You should write down questions you want to ask and/or topics you want to discuss in advance of the meeting. It’s also OK to refer to your notes during the conversation. Just let the person know what you are reading and why.
- If possible, plan your networking contacts according to when your personal energy is highest: Think about when your energy level for communicating is highest and try as much as possible to meet during these times.