Learn How to Network
Who you know and what they know about you is important—80% of all positions are found through networking connections. Whether you’re searching for an internship, looking for a job, or changing industries, networking can be a powerful tool to help you achieve career success. Don’t know how to get started networking? Don’t worry. We’ll show you several strategies to make in-person and online connections.
Write Your Two-Minute Presentation
A Two-Minute Presentation is another term for an elevator speech. If you’re trying to network with someone on an elevator, you need to quickly identify your background, skills, and goals in about two minutes. Whether you’re talking to a recruiter, answering questions about yourself in an interview, or telling friends about your career plans, you can use your Two-Minute Presentation almost anywhere.
- Think about yourself and ask the following questions:
- What is my career objective?
- What is my educational background and related work experiences?
- What are my strengths?
- What are my accomplishments?
- What are my short and long term career goals?
- What sets me apart from other candidates?
- View example two-minute presentations for help getting started.
Complete an Informational Interview
A great way to learn about potential job prospects is to speak with professionals working in that industry. This conversation is called an informational interview. While an informational interview is a resource for someone exploring careers, it is also an excellent networking tool. Follow these steps to get started:
- Brainstorm your current network for possible informational interviewing contacts and identify people to interview.
- Do you have friends, colleagues, classmates, neighbors, or family members working in the career field you want to pursue?
- Can your existing contacts connect you with other professionals?
- Develop your Two-Minute Presentation to make sure you can quickly sell your skills.
- Initiate contact with the person you want to interview.
- Be sure to state who you are and your purpose for calling.
- Reference the person who provided you with this contact information.
- Ask if the contact has 15-20 minutes to speak with you at a convenient time.
- Review the Informational Interviewing Resource Sheet (pdf) for help preparing your questions and sending a thank-you note after the interview.
Use Online Networking Tools
You are in luck! Technology has made it easier than ever to network with professionals in your career field. Review these tips to help you promote yourself online:
- Google yourself often. What do you see? Is this what you want employers to see? Employers will make a first impression of you based on an Internet search.
- Update your resume. It is very difficult to create or enhance your professional online presence without first having an updated resume.
- Create a LinkedIn profile to network and connect with professionals in your industry. LinkedIn has over 100 million users and is the world’s primary professional networking website. Review the LinkedIn Profile Checklist (pdf) to make sure you have the best possible LinkedIn profile.
- Develop a career portfolio to market your experiences, accomplishments, qualifications, and more.
- You can create a free career portfolio without having any IT skills… it’s that easy.
- A career portfolio commonly includes your resume, a homepage introducing yourself, and samples of your work, including projects and presentations.
- Check out the Promoting Yourself Online Resource Sheet (pdf) and Building an Online Career Portfolio (pdf) to learn how simple it is for you to begin creating your career portfolio today.
Schedule a Career Portfolio Appointment
Do you need guidance getting started with your career portfolio? Do you want someone to review a career portfolio you have already developed? If you answer yes to either of these questions, then we encourage you to schedule an hour-long appointment with a CREW Counselor.
You can also have a profile picture taken that you can use for LinkedIn during your appointment.
Students are increasingly interested in starting their own businesses and converting their hobbies and talents into potentially money making ventures. Review our Entrepreneurship Resource Guide for help getting started. This guide is intended to provide local resources and tools to help you.