Merriam-Webster defines networking as the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. But can networking with professionals and alumni really lead to more opportunities?
“A vast majority of those I have networked within the industry have helped me source work for many years.” Brandon Gunderson, a local college graduate and independent contractor, expressed how much networking has positively impacted his work experiences. “I have received work from Oculus because of my fellow alumni. I have also received work from another alumni’s place of employment through his personal reference.”
Brandon’s story shows how impactful networking it can be to maintain quality relationships with a multitude of people inside and outside of your field. The opportunities are endless if you market yourself correctly and utilize the connections you do have.
According to LinkedIn, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking. This sets a bar as to why lower and upperclassmen should network with alumni from their university, and local professionals who are currently in the workforce. It is suggested by some professors to network with local professionals because you are more likely to have more in common since you both live in the same area.
There are many advantages to networking: one being the opportunity to learn about outside experiences. According to the Fresh Research Perspectives, “Alumni also donate their valuable time to offer career support to current students.” Networking can lead students in the right direction of securing a future job.
It is important to have small talk and get to know the person you’re networking with before addressing career advancements. Make sure to maintain any relationships and connect on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, to help shape and grow the professional relationship.
Networking can have very different impacts on everyone. It is important for young adults to know how to be successful when meeting new people and create meaningful connections. Here are tips and tricks to becoming a networking master!
- Tip 1: A large part of networking is listening! Although it is important for students to give their elevator pitch, it is equally important for students to listen to what alumni and local professionals have to say. Students can learn from others on how to succeed in the workforce.
- Tip 2: Find a reason to follow up. Email after the initial interaction; explain what you learned or enjoyed from the encounter; ask any follow-up questions. This will show that you are serious about creating a professional relationship with them.
- Tip 3: Connect on Linkedin after meeting with alumni and professionals. Send a personalized message through Linkedin saying you want to connect with them. This is a great opportunity to continue to maintain your relationship and grow your network.
- Tip 4: Anything can be considered networking. If you’re out to dinner, talking to friends, or even being friendly with a waiter, being friendly never hurts. Even if you’re talking to someone who is in a field that you’re not interested in, you never know what opportunities there might be. Professional and personal relationships might help you get your dream job.
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