Networking is a key element of joining the professional world. To network means to build professional relationships and connections to those who will eventually aid you in your career journey. Those you network with can provide you with advice and important contacts to help you locate and place jobs and internships. In other words, an employer is much more likely to hire you if someone they know brought you to them. Use these tips as you begin to network in your own life.
1. You already belong to multiple networks. Your family, your church, your school, etc. Make a list of these networks, and the people that belong to them. One network then connects to another network. Your father’s friend may know a teacher who is willing to get you an internship at their school.
2. Make sure you know what kind of job you’re looking for. This will help you decide which part of your network you need to contact. Write down the job position you would like to secure and your career goals. Knowing what you want looks good to both the employer and the people in your network. Remember, the person connecting you to an employer takes a reputation risk in doing so; make yourself look good for their sake as well.
3. Find 3-5 references within your primary network that you could reach out to and list as references. These people should be able to vouch for your character and abilities. Contact the people you’ve listed and ask if they’d be willing to be your reference. Tell them your job goals and when they should expect phone calls. Be authentic and open to connection.
4. Reach out to people not only in your own network, but to those connected to it. Perhaps your professor knows an architect. Once connected via your professor, find time to talk to this person. Spend time making a real connection. Be authentic and ask about their experiences and their advice for your own journey.
5. Just like in your personal life, maintenance of relationships is required for success. Likewise, make time to connect to the ties you’ve created. Schedule a phone call or meet up for coffee. Update them on your professional journey. Ask them for advice or feedback!