Networking: What It Is & How It Can Help You Achieve your Goals

 

What exactly is networking, and what can it do for you?

When you think of a networking event, you probably think of the words “nerve-wracking” and “scary.” No worries! We are here to tell you all about networking so it can feel less overwhelming. Networking is simply getting to know people in your desired field or company that you would like to work for some day. By making connections with these people, it allows you to become familiar with the field and company that you might become a part of in the future. Networking can take place anywhere. Sometimes there will be formal networking events that you can attend. Participating in these events shows employers that you are engaged, interested, and ready for your future. However, networking can also happen outside of these formal events as well. For example, you can reach out to individuals on LinkedIn who work in an industry you might want to know more about. Or, maybe you start a conversation with a family friend who works for a company that intrigues you. One of the biggest benefits to networking is that you increase your visibility as a new professional and that you also practice speaking with a lot of different people. These conversations will help you be more prepared for those future office visits or interviews.

So, what do you say when you’re networking? A Student’s Perspective

As a junior accounting major, I have tried to go to as many accounting networking events here on campus as I could. This is what allowed me to really find out a lot of information about the firms that were recruiting here at Georgia College. Other accounting majors I have spoken to say those events have helped them get interviews and office visits with firms that they are interested in. Overall, they can lead to some great opportunities – and potentially to a future career that you are very passionate about. But, what do you say to these people once you meet them?  Here are some good go-to questions:

  • What do you enjoy most about the company that you work for?
  • How did you get started with this company?
  • What is your daily schedule like?
  • What would make someone the ideal employee for your company?
  • What made you pick this company over other companies that you were looking at?

Final Tips

Now for some tips when it comes to the day of the networking event! First of all, there is typically a certain dress code for the event. It depends on the company and the venue, but do not be afraid to ask! Email the recruiter that set up the event or head to the Career Center for some useful tips. Next, when you are at the event, mingle with as many people as you can. Finally, try to get business cards from the people you talk to so you can follow up with a simple thank you for their time at the event. These are also great people to consider adding to your LinkedIn network.

Next Steps

Now that we have explained what networking exactly is, it is time for you to determine your next steps! To find some networking events, look out for advertisements from your department or from a company you are interested in pursuing. If you are still nervous about networking, please come to the Career Center in Lanier 110 to receive some more advice on what to do and not do at networking events!

What is LinkedIn & Why You Should Use It

Have you ever wondered what LinkedIn is and how it can help you in college and in your future career? Well, you have come to the right place! First of all, LinkedIn is a networking tool used by students and professionals alike. There are several uses of LinkedIn that you can use to your benefit as you begin your transition from college to your first job out in the real world.

Here is why you should use it:

It could potentially be an expanded version of your resume.

            Sometimes students and professionals have so much experience that it won’t all fit on their one page resume, so this is where LinkedIn comes in. On your profile, you can put all your experience and skills on there where there is no limit. You can even add more to the entries you already have on your resume to explain them even further in detail.

You have the ability to connect and network with classmates, alumni, and companies.

            This is one of the most used features of LinkedIn. You can connect with people all over the world, or right down to your classmates in your business class. You never know which one of your connections could help you get that dream job you always wanted, or help you connect with someone that you would like to do an informational interview with. Plus, it is a great way for your classmates and colleagues to keep up with what you are accomplishing while in college or in your career.

You can search for jobs anywhere!

            Everyone wants a job after college, right? Their job search tool is a great place to start if you do not know where to begin. You can specify your desired geographical area , and what industry you prefer. You can also search by experience level, which includes internships and entry-level positions. You might even find a job that you never thought existed, and that you would be great at! Finding the right job does take some time, so don’t become discouraged if you do not find the right one for you the first day of your search.

LinkedIn can help you create a professional brand.

            One of the most important things college students should begin to think about is their professional brand. You want a professional brand that reflects you and all your accomplishments thus far. You can further tailor your brand to what you want your future to be like as well. Having a professional brand helps you become competitive among your classmates and colleagues so you can get that job you have always wanted.

 

Want to learn even more about LinkedIn? Come to one of the Career Center’s LinkedIn Meet-Ups, or schedule an appointment with one of our professionals to get your LinkedIn profile reviewed!