Intro to Networking!

By Melanie McDowell

If you’re starting to think about what life might hold for you after you finish your studies, you’ve probably already heard that networking is important. But for some people, networking can be an overwhelming prospect. So, for everyone that has been procrastinating with this essential aspect of career planning, here’s a basic intro to networking:

What is networking?
Networking is all about building relationships to help you in your chosen career path.  It’s not about just handing out business cards or attenting industry events!

Why network?
There is no way around it, if you want to land a job, you need to start networking. Building relationships is key in life, and in work and should not be daunting if you embrace it. Start thinking about building relationships as a long term career plan now.

Networking strategy?
Come up with a plan. If you know your dream job then start figuring out the steps you will need to take, and people you will need to connect with to get there. If you aren’t sure yet what you want to do, start networking to help you figure it out. You can start networking with professors, career advisors, alumni, professional bodies and associations, friends, family, etc. – the list goes on and on!

Ways to network

Social Media Networking
Facebook is the most common social network, and although you might think of it as a way to connect with friends, remember that employers will check it so please clean up your profile! Start thinking about professional links you can make within your huge Facebook network.

LinkedIn is the professional online network and is an invaluable networking tool. Build a strong profile (look at other profiles to guide you) and start getting recommendations, and searching your contacts contacts for interesting connections.

Number One Rule of Networking
Networking is reciprocal so become a networker yourself! Share information and connections with others and watch it come full circle. Never think What can I get out of this contact or relationship? and just focus on making those connections; you never know where they might lead…

Share your networking success stories in the comments section below!

Melanie McDowell


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