Networking is becoming an increasingly more popular tool to help guide careers. Research done by LinkedIn in 2017 found that nearly two-thirds of professionals globally agree that regular online interaction with other professionals can lead to job opportunities.
Lots of students may know about networking but do not know when to start or how to go about meeting people on a college campus.
Miranda Grom, career adviser/recruiting coordinator at the Gannon Student Success Center, said networking in college “allows students to cultivate and build relationships that will empower their professional development and future opportunities.”
Students can develop an online presence in a professional way by creating and updating a LinkedIn and Handshake profile. There students can engage with potential employers and mentors.
Forbes magazine writer Bianca Miller Cole said in an article that “networking is not only about trading information, but also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits.”
Part of this includes having a mentor. A mentor is typically someone who holds the job you aspire to have. Mentors serve as coaches to students who want to work in a similar position by providing advice and support. Because they have been in the field, mentors are able to give a different perspective on education, internships and campus engagement, while guiding students on a path to success.
Grom said students can register for the IGKNIGHT90 Mentoring Program through Handshake if they need help finding someone.
A study done by National Public Radio found 70% of jobs are not published. A vast majority of employers now hire trusted friends and acquaintances found just by networking.
“It is never too early to network, draft a resume or think about your career goals,” Grom said.
While networking can happen organically when students become engaged on campus, it also helps to go to local professional development and recruiting events. These events around Erie can be found on Handshake’s website.
To stand out while meeting potential business partners at these events, Grom said to “always be polite, dress appropriately and firmly shake a person’s hand while making direct eye contact.”
After meeting someone you would like to stay connected with, Grom said to send a hand-written thank-you note in order to make a great impression.
Another essential part of networking is internships. Internships allow you to meet people in an organization, but it is up to the individual to make an impression.
“Interns make a positive lasting impression by always being professional, punctual and polite,” Grom said. “Producing the highest quality work product and being engaged and present will allow interns to learn the most and leaves the door open for future opportunities within an organization.”
To find an internship that best fits you, talk to your adviser or visit the Student Success Center. To meet with a career exploration and development adviser, you can schedule an appointment by emailing email@example.com.