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Connecting the dots: Networking in career planning and the j

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SEMO Career Services

on 8 December 2016

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Transcript of Connecting the dots: Networking in career planning and the j

You know and can build relationships with plenty of people! Start looking at your existing network!
Follow up on these introductions to less personal connections and request to sit down for an Informational Meeting.
Basically, networking is all about starting a conversation and building relationships!
"Wait, I thought networking was about finding jobs??"
Don't freak out! Instead, let's think about networking being more like this...
Let's be honest. When you hear the word "networking" does your mind go to images or thoughts like these...
Connecting the dots: Networking in career planning and the job search
"Scary big events where I don't know anybody"
"Awkward introductions and sweaty handshakes"
"Suits, ties, and heels"
"How the heck am I supposed to eat AND talk to people!"
"Do I bring business cards or resumes?"
"Where do I even START?"
Attending conferences or panels
Meeting with a professional in your industry of interest
Being active on campus and in your community!Meeting peers, faculty, staff, and potential employers through courses, activities, and social events.
And also formal networking events like Career Fairs!
While it's true a key byproduct of networking is learning of employment opportunities, the true definition of networking is building relationships where both parties benefit.
Right about now you might be thinking...

"Ok, that seems simple enough, but I'm just a college student. I can't really benefit anybody can I? I mean, I lack experience right? And, honestly, who do I know or where would I even start building my network?"
Check THIS out...
Friends, family members, friends-of-friends or family, current or previous supervisors and coworkers, faculty teaching your classes, or anybody you know and feel comfortable talking to because you already have a relationship in place
"But, what do I say?"
Have you ever heard of the 30 second summary or "Elevator Pitch"? This is a key component of the job search, but can be super helpful when networking as well. It is a practiced message to hit the highlights of your skills, experiences, and what you want to do. Key points to include:

Where are you now?
-College major/level in school?
-What you're interested in right now career-wise?
-Where you currently work, etc.

Where have you been?
-Relevant accomplishments, experience, etc.

Where do you want to go?
-What are your goals?
-What value, skills, or experience can you bring forward?
-How do all these relate to who you are talking to?
So for example...
"Hi there Jennifer! It was great seeing you at the last FirstSTEP orientation. I've been meaning to ask you...I am heading into my junior year as a public relations major and I am really interested in the resort industry. Actually it is my dream to work for Disney World. I have been so active here on campus with new student programs and recruiting events and have learned a TON about marketing and large event planning. I would love to take this knowledge into the hospitality industry, especially with Disney, but I just don't feel like I have the connections. Do you have any advice?"

"Actually Zac, you are in luck! We get information regarding the Disney Internship Program through the Career Services office. I would be happy to give you the contact information for the recruiter we work with involved with the program."

"Awesome! That would be so helpful! I will be sure to email you after class to get this information so I can follow up with the recruiter to see what advice she could offer. Thanks again. Please let me know what I can do to promote your office during Welcome Week this year!"
Meet Zac. Zac is a junior public relations major interested in the hospitality and resort industry, who is trying to build his professional network. He runs into a career counselor on his way to class...
That seems easy enough!
Informational meetings are where you get the chance to meet with a professional in an area of interest to you! You ask the questions!
What did Zac do right?

1. He didn't ask for a job!
2. He highlighted his skills, experiences, and mentioned a career goal.
3. He thanked the contact.
4. He took the responsibility to follow up, not asking for his connection to do it for him.
5. He asked how he could help the contact.

Remember...it's all about relationships!
"What do I ask?" Good question! Here are just a few possibilities!

1. What is a typical day like in your job?
2. What do you like about your job? Dislike?
3. How did you decide this was the career for you?
4. What are employers typically looking for in new graduates for your position? (Skills, experiences, education)
5. What suggestions do you have for me at this point in my professional development?
6. Is there anyone you could introduce me to who you think would be beneficial for me to connect with?

"Wow, that sounds kind of intimidating. Why do I want to do this again?
Because networking through informational meetings is an awesome way to...
-Explore careers and clarify your career goals.

-Access insider information--You get to talk to real people in the career YOU WANT!

-Access the hidden job market--Those jobs which are unadvertised due to internal referral (hint...this is because of networking...).

-Learn what strengths/characteristics are valued in your industry.

-Aaaaannnd expand your professional network!
(That's pretty neat!)
Ok, so let's go back to Zac...Zac followed up after class with Jennifer and got the contact information for Mary at Disney World. Through a professionally worded email he introduced himself, mentioned how he had been referred and why he was reaching out to her. They set up a time to discuss his questions during a phone meeting. From there, he made sure to follow up with her periodically through an email or phone call every couple months. He also added her as a connection on LinkedIn. Because he worked to stay connected and build a relationship with Mary, he stayed in her mind and she introduced him to people he needed to connect with such as Jacob, who worked in the marketing and promotions department at Disney World. After a great phone conversation, Jacob updated Zac on company news, and let him know of an upcoming opening for a summer internship before it was ever posted online. Zac interviewed...and headed to Orlando for the summer!
Way to go Zac! Which brings us to the final stage of networking...
Reaching out to unknown connections!
That's right...NEW people! Maybe even people you don't have a referral or introduction for. How do you find these folks? Joining professional organizations, attending conferences or workshops (yes, even as a student), and suiting up to network at career fairs are all great ways to meet and begin relationships with new people. Social media is also a great start! More and more companies have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and especially LinkedIn. In fact, the 2014 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey showed that nearly 93% of employers use or plan to use social media in their recruiting practices. Whoa! That's a reason to get connected online!
Why should you be LinkedIn?
It is the way the world professionally connects!
364 million users in 200 countries (as of March 2015)!
You can create a profile for free, and begin connecting with individuals through: Industry groups, following companies, connecting with individuals at companies you are interested in, and alumni networks just to name a few. Following this presentation check out the
"LinkedIn Profile Checklist"
"How to Communicate Effectively on LinkedIn"
in Module 4 of Moodle. These are some awesome resources that provide tips on how to create a great profile and communicate effectively on LinkedIn. Want more LinkedIn awesomeness? Make an appointment with Career Services to discuss how to make LinkedIn work for you!
So, some final thoughts...
Hopefully networking doesn't sound as scary or overwhelming now. You have learned what networking is all about (relationships), have discovered you do, in fact have a network you can expand upon, and some strategies for beginning the process. How about a few more tips...
Start networking NOW! (Building relationships takes time. This isn't something you do two weeks before graduation!)
Have a plan and a practiced message. (Sell your skills, experiences, and ask, "How can I help you? in every conversation).
Forget your personal agenda. (Don't network just to land a job. The goal should be forging connections where people are able to help each other).
Never dismiss anyone as unimportant. (Yes, even your uncle Larry, your mailman, or the cashier at your local grocery may know somebody. ) Start conversations with people!
Follow up! (Relationships aren't built on single conversations. Everyone is busy, but it takes just a few minutes to send an email or dial a phone number. Small things count!)

We are here!
Want to know more or get individualized assistance?

Come visit the Office of Career Services!
Academic Hall 057
Call or stop in to make an appointment!
Office of Career Services

Adapted from: Networking the Right Way by Andrew Vest
Full transcript