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In addition to informational interviews, there are a variety of ways to network professionally. Internship and job search networking is the process of developing a list of contacts for the purpose of gathering information about a job, internship or profession. The process of establishing relationships with people, exchanging information and ideas and working together for future mutually beneficial exchanges makes networking one of the most successful ways to find an internship or job.
- Serves to provide information, support and job leads.
- Takes place in formal or informal settings.
- Assists in the choice of a major or career and can validate your career interests.
- Improves your interpersonal and interviewing skills.
- Helps you gather information about different types of careers and the job qualifications associated with those careers.
- Helps you obtain advice about internship or job searching.
- Can lead to mentoring relationships.
- Works best when you are being yourself. Genuinely seeking assistance and information can lead to positive results.
The best place to start networking is with family, friends, neighbors and with the people they know. Others with whom to network include faculty, coaches, alumni, members of associations or clubs, recruiters at job fairs, employers conducting information sessions on campus, classmates or acquaintances. Tell everyone you know you are interested in networking. You might be surprised by who is able to help you. Always be ready to make a contact. Tip: be sure to create and organize your contact list. Include contact information, where and when you met and what you will do to follow-up your initial contact.
Contacts can be made in person, by phone, by email, or through social media. In all cases, present yourself professionally. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation in all written communication.
- Prepare business cards.
- Use a variety of options for making contacts.
- Request an opportunity to conduct an informational interview.
- Chat with people casually (e.g., on a plane or bus, while waiting in line, at social gatherings).
- Attend meetings or join professional associations in your field.
- Volunteer at an organization related to your field.
- Talk with recruiters at job fairs or on-campus company information sessions.
- Use your LinkedIn connections to request introductions to others.
- Use LinkedIn "groups" to connect with professionals in your field(s) of interest.
- Be curious. Talk with people about the work they do.
Social Media Networking
Job seekers and employers use social media to connect. There are a variety of sites, including one of the most popular professional sites, LinkedIn. Read more tips for using social media with your internship or job search.
Be sure to send follow-up thank you notes to your contacts, when appropriate, to show your appreciation and increase your chances of developing productive relationships. If you have not done so by this point, also connect with your in-person contacts on LinkedIn. This online follow-up will allow you to stay connected with your contacts.