NetworkingPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/cdc/networking/
"NETWORKING IS EVERYTHING!"
- Benjamin T: MNSU Alumni -
Networking is about building relationships — connecting with someone else. Your goal is not to get a job or internship, your goal is to find out what would benefit that other person, and understand what you might be able to offer.
- Why should you network?
- How do I prepare?
- Making the initial contact
- How do I establish my network?
- Joining Professional Organizations
TIP: The earlier you start working on establishing a network of trusted resources, the more people you will have to call on when you do actually need a job.
Also, the benefit to starting the process early in your college career is that informational interviews can help you in choosing a major or career path.
Why should you network?
Networking is the most effective way to find a job or internship. The more people you know, the more resources you have for information or opportunities that might interest you.
- 80% of jobs are never advertised. You may only be exposed to 20% of available jobs.
- Most employers would prefer to hire a person referred by a colleague, peer or friend.
- The overall amount of time it takes for you to find a job can be drastically reduced (estimated to be 4-6 months if you network as opposed to 6-9 months using other job search methods).
- The referral process can put you in contact with key people you might otherwise never meet.
- You learn more about your field of interest and various occupations within it, as well as specific organizations, which may help you in choosing a major or career path. (Through the process of elimination you may rule out certain career fields or positions.)
- Your network can be maintained for years to come and be used repeatedly as you go through job changes later in life.
How can I prepare myself?
Clarify your goals. Write a brief summary of your abilities, interests, and values. Be able to talk intelligently about yourself. Know why you are networking and be prepared to be honest about that with the people with whom you network. Are you just exploring majors and careers, or are you interested in their company specifically for possible future employment? Research the contact’s organization as much as you can prior to meeting them.
Making the Initial Contact
1. Commit to a schedule (Calling just 2 people a day is over 500 contacts a year).
2. Make the initial contact (use a well-rehearsed, but not forced, phone script)
- Properly introduce yourself; mention the name of the person who referred you.
- Explain the reason for your call.
- Do NOT ask for a job – ask for a 20 - 45 minute informational interview
3. Send a resume and cover letter confirming the appointment. Explain in the letter that you have enclosed the resume only so that he/she might review it and give you suggestions as to your qualifications for the industry.
4. Send a thank-you letter following the appointment.
What makes a good call?
“Mr. Johnson. Hi. My name is Michael Smith and I am a student of Dr. Jim Jones. Dr. Jones suggested that I contact you as someone that I could speak with about various career paths in the field of ____________ . Could I have just 2 minutes of your time?”
“Thanks. I will be graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in ______________ ; and at this point, I am trying to gather information about various employers and the types of positions each employer has so I can better prepare for my upcoming job search. I can appreciate that you probably keep a busy schedule, but I wondered if you might have between 30 and 45 minutes that I could sit down and talk with you about your experiences in the field.”
“I’d be happy to Michael, when did you have in mind?”
“Well, I do have classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, but beyond that I’ll be happy to meet with you at your convenience.”
“Alright, I can squeeze you in next Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m.”
“Wonderful, next Tuesday, March 2nd, at 4 p.m. Where shall I meet you?”
“I’m located in the Highland Towers on Broward Street. The directions are...”
“Okay, I think I can find that. In the meantime, I’d like to send you a copy of my resume so you’ll have a chance to look over my background before we meet and perhaps you can give me some feedback on it. Do you have an e-mail?”
“Certainly, that address is...”
“Wonderful. I look forward to meeting with you next Tuesday at 4 p.m. and I’ll get that resume in the mail to you.”
What networking is:
- Establishing mutually beneficial relationships with others
- Locating and meeting new people every day, everywhere
- Going the extra mile by reaching out to those who can help you in your field
- Understanding what you have to offer and how you can help someone
- Being open and receptive to any opportunities that may be available to you
What networking is not:
- Stalking your neighbor who works at the agency of your dreams
- Constantly calling your friend in human resources
- Speaking about your plight in improper situations (funerals, hospital waiting rooms, etc.)
- Begging strangers for a job
People in your networks:
- Your Parents
- Your Friends
- Your Friends’ Parents
- Your Parents’ Friends
- Classmates (High School and College)
- Group and Club Members
- Trade Association Members
- Professional Organization Executives
- Speakers of Meetings You’ve Attended
- People You’ve Met at Conferences
- Faculty/Academic Advisor
- Past Supervisors (Work/Internship)
- Past Colleagues/Clients/Business Partners
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- Career Counselors
- Clergy/Church Leaders/Church Members
How Do I Establish My Network?
Generate a list of companies and types of positions you are interested in. Brainstorm, categorize and prioritize the names of people you think can put you in touch with someone in those companies or positions. LinkedIn is a great resource where you can find connections online all over the globe. Essentially it is a Facebook for professionals where you can fill out your profile with your professional experiences, join online groups and forums in your areas of interest, and create connections with professionals across all industries. Check out these great videos on how to effectively use LinkedIn.
- Why LinkedIn? (video)
- Step-by-step to crafting an effective LinkedIn Profile
- Tips for students on LinkedIn
- Tips for job seekers on LinkedIn (video)
- LinkedIn How To Video
- MSU Alumni LinkedIn Group
Joining Professional Organizations
There are so many opportunities to get involved in any field or industry. Most likely, there will be a national, state, and even local organization affiliated with your major. Be sure to talk with faculty and professionals in the field to learn about organizations you should be participating in. Joining organizations will allow you to engage in professional development opportunities that you can put on your resume, gain an understanding of the expectations within your field, and also provide an opportunity to connect with professionals creating your personal network. Refer to some of the websites below for organizations that you might be interested in.