Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Steps to Being an Effective Networker

Although resumes, cover letters, and applications are the technical way of getting a job or internship - in truth, many times the key to getting an interview is all about who you know! Creating a group of professional contacts in your career field and using them as references or for a source for career recommendations or suggestions is how we network. Although networking may seem easy to define, the process can sometimes be intimidating to begin. The following are tips to help you get started networking and building a list of professional contacts:

Networking Preparation:
1. Understand what your goal is for networking. This involves understanding what your career goals are. If you understand your career goals before meeting with your new contact you will not only be making a professional contact, but also be able to ask questions pertinent to your career and job market you aspire to be in.
2. Bring a resume or business card when networking with your new contact.
3. Have a 30 second summary of yourself ready to tell your networking professional.
4. Come prepared with any questions you may have!

Building a List of New Contacts:

1. Before contacting the professional – be prepared by writing a “script” or pre-written letter telling the contact about yourself, your networking & career goals, and what you hope to learn from your meeting with them.
2. Refrain from calling your meeting an interview – you are NOT interviewing for a job!

Following up with Contacts:
1. After your networking meeting make sure to ask for a business card! This way you have direct contact information and an address to send a thank you note.
2. Within a week after your meeting make sure to send a thank you note to your contact. Although it is ok to send an email it is more personable and memorable to send a handwritten note.
3. Keep track of the business card and information you received during the meeting. Try to keep in touch with your contact. Most people are more than willing to be contacted if you have any further questions.

Now that you have an idea of how to start networking, put your skills to the test and get more information from industry professionals. On Monday, January 24th from 5:30 – 7:00 pm, Career Services will be hosting a "Recruiters Tell All" career panel in the C4C, 3rd Floor, Abrams Lounge. Recruiters will be there to answer questions and give tips about resumes, cover letters, networking, career fairs, salary negotiations and more. Bring your questions! No need to rsvp, just show up!