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?
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.
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!