75% of all professional positions are filled through networking!
Based on this statistic from Harvard based sociologist Mark Gronowetter, if you are not building your network, you may be hindering your job search. Networking image

What is Networking Really?
Networking is about making connections and building rapport with people. It helps you get the information, advice, resources, referrals and job leads that you need to succeed in your career. It also helps other people succeed in their own careers. It is a vitally important skill that can help you stand out in an increasingly competive job market.

Where Should You Network?
You can find business contacts anywhere, so always be on the lookout. Here are a few common places to start making professional connections 

  • Student Organizations
  • Volunteer Activities
  • Relatives/Acquaintances
  • Coworkers
  • Alumni
  • Internships
  • Career Fairs
  • In the Classroom
  • Professional Associations
  • LinkedIn

Seven Secrets of Successful Networking

  1. Prepare an "elevator speech." When introducing yourself, be prepared to share your academic and professional achievements and intended goals within 30 – 60 seconds.
  2. Act with confidence even if you feel shy or intimidated, and always speak passionately about your interests and accomplishments.
  3. Communicate in a warm and sincere way. Learn people’s names, make eye contact, and listen intently.
  4. Follow through with referrals, and always thank your contacts in writing for their time and assistance.
  5. Look for ways that you and your contacts can help each other, and build a reputation of being a resource for others.  
  6. Create a system for tracking contact information and notes.
  7. Manage your “online image” and be cautious about what employers might find.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional networking site with more than 175 million members in over 200 countries and territories. It is a critical brand-building tool that allows you to:

  • Build and manage your professional presence.
  • Connect professionally with classmates, faculty, family, work or internship colleagues, and other key contacts.
  • Find new career opportunities.
  • Manage and maintain your list of professional contacts.

Most professionals use and take LinkedIn seriously. While an established presence on Facebook is good, a strong, polished presence on LinkedIn can set you apart in the job market. Learn how to network and build your online brand with LinkedIn.

Facebook is more than a social outlet; it is also an important career tool. According to a recent poll, 44 percent of all social media job-seeking activity happens on Facebook. With this in mind and depending on your use, you may wish to keep your Facebook account public, private, or grant certain individuals access to certain sections. 

Alternatively, you may consider creating a separate account for professional use. It is important to remember, however, that anything you post on Facebook could be visible to future employers, so be mindful of your content. Learn how to network and build your online brand with Facebook.

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions, and news. If you are looking to obtain internships, full-time jobs, or networking opportunities you should use Twitter to improve your industry knowledge and social media marketing skills.

Active job seekers should follow a targeted list of companies on Twitter and send tweets regularly. A professional tweet should engage employers and industries of interest. Your professional tweets should include questions, address trending topics, and/or demonstrate your subject-matter knowledge and interest. Learn how to network and build your online brand with Twitter.