Are you coming to one or both of our Alumni Networking Events over winter break?
Let’s talk about networking.
Networking involves being curious about someone, their work, their industry, or their company/organization. A savvy networker asks questions, and listens closely to other people. The point is, networking is a two-way street. You get connected, and you connect others. This involves careful listening, asking questions and a willingness to connect others as much as yourself to interesting people in different fields.
An example: You, wonderful student of career development that you are, decides to attend one of our fantastic alumni networking events over winter break (sponsored by Alumni Relations and your very own Career services Office). Let’s say you are interested in working in middle-level education. You meet someone at registration who is an environmental engineer. You’re curious about what this person’s work life is like, so maybe you ask a couple questions. After a couple minutes, you remember that your roommate, a civil engineering major, has some interest in learning more about environmental engineering and potentially also work opportunities in the summer. You politely ask if you can pass along the environmental engineer’s e-mail to your roommate, the person agrees. You have just “networked”. Additionally, you might also have met someone working in middle-level education, and agreed that it might be interesting for you both to have coffee in a week to discuss what’s new in the field and maybe for you to ask some more questions about this person’s experiences. That is also networking.
Though we talk frequently about how to network, we often don’t talk about how to stay in touch with your contacts, how to maintain those relationships. Maintaining your contacts is also key, as it is easy to fall out of touch with people who may have had a stronger presence in your life in your first year of college, or even in high school. An invitation by e-mail to get coffee or go for a walk might be a great way to reconnect to maintain these relationships.
Looking for more information about how to network? Check out our networking resource page, which includes sample networking correspondence and questions.