What is networking?
Networking is the process by which you gather and exchange information with contacts who can help you focus your career planning and develop a network to uncover the hidden job market. While it is not a readily available source of jobs, the relationships you develop may lead you to a connection that becomes a job.
What does career networking look like?
Example 1: You attend a lecture on campus about careers in finance. Afterwards, you approach the speaker and let her know how much you enjoyed her discussion of the challenges of financial advising. After a short conversation, the speaker offers you a business card and tells you to contact her if you’re ever interested in doing an internship with their company.
Example 2: Your favorite instructor mentions that a former student is now CEO of a small local company. You’re interested in small business and you approach your instructor and ask if they would be willing to give you the contact information of the CEO or pass along your contact information to them as you’re interested in setting up a time to learn more about what it takes to run your own small business.
Example 3: You find out that several NWTC alumni work in Appleton that work in your field of interest - Public Relations (PR). You research their companies, develop a list of questions about breaking into PR, and email them to see if they’d be willing to set up a time to speak with you over the phone. You get four positive responses, one bounce-back and one that asks you to check back in with them in a month when they’ll be less busy. Through speaking with the alums on the phone, you learn about an opening at a PR agency. You apply and get the job!
Example 4: You want to move to Chicago after graduation and are considering working for a manufacturing company. You get an email inviting you to the annual manufacturing student conference in Chicago. At the event, you speak to three professionals in the manufacturing industry and they, in turn, connect you with four more people. Through your conversations, you rework your resume, apply to several manufacturing companies in Chicago, and successfully interview for several positions.