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Networking: It’s all about who you know
Networking is something all students hear about, but it is surprising how important it really is.
Networking is important to get closer to landing a job, for many openings can be discovered through word-of-mouth.
A good place to start is with family, friends and professors. This, in turn, will allow students to network with connections those people have too.
“I think that you meet people for a reason, and one of those many reasons is to network. I see it as opportunities. They may seem unclear at the time, but knowing people that know people is always good, and that’s when the six-degrees of separation comes into play,” said Darlene Petras, a 2007 Quinnipiac graduate.
Networking opportunities are everywhere, even the gym and grocery store. At any given moment or location, it is possible to meet someone with insight into your job search. It is important that networking become second nature to college students.
Quinnipiac University Vice President and Dean of Admissions Joan Isaac Mohr said that networking begins as soon as we are old enough to talk.
“Who you deal with today might have some ability to assist you tomorrow. The contacts, friends, information, resources and experiences that you put together all through your life may indeed help you in your personal life, career choice and career opportunities,” she said.
Senior Anastacia Tucker began networking with her professors freshman year. Since then she has interned at ABC 7 News in Chicago and BET (Black Entertainment Television) in New York City.
“As I got my internships, I went around and got to know as many people in the news department and at BET as possible. I even gave my resume to a couple of people and asked if my resume looked good or if I should make corrections to it,” Tucker said.
Internships aside, there are other ways to make connections.
“I collected business cards. I e-mail people I have met from time to time, call, or visit the places because I was invited to,” Tucker said.
Senior Jennifer Hall, who started networking early, is currently doing her third internship.
“I started networking for an internship the fall semester before the summer I interned,” she said.
After connections are established, “follow up and thank you e-mails are great to do. Also, stay on top of applications. That really shows you are very interested,” said Hall.
Associate Professor of Journalism Lou Adler said that a thank-you letter or a reminder can be helpful because there may be an opening for a job the person hadn’t thought until receiving the follow up.
Staying organized is crucial. Keeping an updated database of names will help avoid confusion at a later date.
Not only this, but keeping in touch is equally important. Update connections on relevant academic or extracurricular activities. Then, follow up and be appreciative of efforts made.
Also, always be prepared to make a contact and exchange business cards or an up-to-date resume.
“Business cards can be helpful and they never hurt. And they do help people remember you. But you should also leave them with some copies of your best work. Spreading them around in the right places also helps get your name out there,” Adler said.
But what steps should be taken so professionals will remember you?
“When you meet someone, give them a firm handshake, look them in the eye, smile, and repeat their name. Keep your eye contact [and] keep them engaged in your conversation,” Mohr said.
Mohr added that it is not only important to make your point but also say goodbye when it is time to move on.
“Be sure you’re dressed in a professional way. You want to be remembered for the right reasons,” she said.