Networking Madness idea polls - April 5th: Savvy 16
Most careers have an organization for professionals in that field. Examples include the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Academy of Actuaries. There are national groups and often local chapters as well, such as the Capital Region Human Resource Association. Joining these organizations as a student gives you access to career information online, and opportunities to attend both national and local networking events. These events will put you in touch with some of the most influential people in your field; make those connections and maintain them.
Volunteering to work with an organization can help you build skills that will make you more marketable to future employers. Volunteer experience is also a great way to network with professionals in the career field you are considering. If you show initiative, leadership, and integrity as a volunteer, you could be offered an internship with the same organization, or at least a recommendation for an internship at another organization.
Joining a student group is a great way to network and make contacts with other students and there’s a lot of informal idea swapping that can lead to making important connections. Joining student groups and organizations helps develop communication and leadership skills, and always looks good on a resume. Employers think that students who are engaged and active in clubs and organizations will be engaged and active as employees. “My Involvement” is the place to go to look into the more than 200 student groups on campus.
Attend a Conference
The benefits from networking in a conference environment are immense; meeting new people who can give you new research, product, or information leads that will open up new possibilities for you. It pays to keep your mind focused on these opportunities. Look up the people who will be presenting at the conference. They are the influencers who can help you get better networked into your targeted industry, or who may even be able to share ideas with you or give you a little time to talk through things that you're doing.
Conducting Informational interviews are extremely helpful in two ways; networking and gaining information. If there’s a job you’ve heard of but aren’t really sure if it’s for you- go talk to someone in the field! And informational interview provides you with a plethora of information on what it’s like to work in the field and what the job specifically entails. Informational interviews are also a great way to begin connecting with people in your projected field- while interviewing them you are developing a relationship. Follow-up and thank them for taking the time to speak with you, then update them if you end up finding an internship or job in the field.
Get a Mentor
Ask good contacts for advice about a specific problem. Maybe you need coaching for a big interview, whether in person or through online video, and you can ask a great contact to coach you. Whatever the issue, try asking a contact for specific advice instead of proposing a career-long mentorship. Take the advice from a mentor and act on it. Then call or email the result of your actions. Ask your next question and repeat until you have a steady dialogue going. At some point, write them a nice handwritten note and thank them for mentoring you.
Some may believe an internship is simply an experience to put on your resume and gain knowledge of your field. However, it is also a huge networking opportunity. You are surrounded by employees in the field you eventually hope to work in. Talk to them, show them what a hard worker you are, and stay in contact after the internship has ended. Oftentimes, when an intern truly stands out and goes above and beyond, job offers are on the horizon.
Employer information session
Employer information sessions are typically held the evening prior to an employer's first interview day through On-Campus Interviewing. However, some employers hold them in conjunction with attending career fairs, or with other reasons they have personnel on campus. This can be an opportunity to learn more about the organization and meet company representatives in a less formal situation than an interview. You have the opportunity to ask questions (not about money) in advance of the interview.