Networking is the exchange of information between career professionals to learn about their organizations, responsibilities, and career paths. Employment opportunities may not always be advertised in traditional methods, e.g. website, career fair, newspaper. Networking contacts can lead to referrals and help you gain access to industry information. Therefore, social media and university resources represent a valuable asset in developing your professional network and discovering job and internship opportunities.
Why does networking work?
- People are more comfortable hiring someone they know
- Most people are helpful by nature and recall individuals that helped connect them to job and internship opportunities
Who is in my network?
- Family, friends, supervisors, professors, and previous employers
- Join student & professional organizations
- Participate in internships or volunteer activities
- Attend a Career Fair to meet with employer representatives
- Texas Exes Alumni
How do I get started?
- Learn how to effectively utilize social media career tools to build your professional network
- Identify the company or industry of interest to you
- Research the company website for information on services, products, organization mission, and opportunities of growth
- Notify your network of your career interests
- Prepare your 30-second Introduction
How do I make contact with my network?
- Begin with an introductory phone call or email
- Be sensitive to the contact's time and availability
- Reference the person who connected you
- Be concise when explaining why you like to speak with them
- Request a meeting time for discussion and an informational interview
What about on-line networks?
- LinkedIn is the is most widely used on-line professional network
- Over 50 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities
- Many jobs are posted on LinkedIn
- Participate in discussions with industry professionals
- Join the LACS LinkedIn group with other CoLA students and employers
- Check out the LACS Social Media guide for more social networking help and tips.
What should I do to prepare for an informational interview?
- Prepare a targeted Resume for your career field of interest
- Research the company website in advance
- Prepare questions to ask the network
- Dress in professional interview attire
- Be punctual and aware of the time the contact has provided
- Show enthusiasm and interest in the field
- Request business card for future reference
- Inquire about industry referrals when appropriate
What are the next steps I need to take after the information interview?
- Send a thank you note or email to your contact within 24 hours
- Follow through with referrals or leads discovered from the meeting
- Stay in touch with the contact and keep him/her posted on your progress
What do I have to gain from networking during my job search?
- Confirm your interest in the field
- Learn insider tips and strategies
- Access to jobs and internships
- Assist with securing an interview for a job or internship opportunity