Most of us know what social networking is, but what about professional networking? However, it is a necessary and invaluable tool to help you enter and get ahead in your chosen career field. Developing a network of professional relationships will be beneficial to you throughout the span of your career. Statistics show that building a strong network helps create more job opportunities. Therefore, the sooner you start creating your professional network of peers, the more useful your network with be to you. Let’s discuss a few essential networking tips and tricks that will help every recent graduate put their career on the fast track.
Visit the Campus Career Center
Did you know that Stratford University has a dedicated Career Services department that serves students and graduates by helping them discover and achieve their full potential in their chosen career field? Career Services offers many free resources to help you connect with former alumni for job opportunities and prepare for upcoming job interviews. We can help with building a resume and preparing for interview questions with role playing. We can set you up with job fairs, which are another great way to connect with other professionals and build your network. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, job fairs are a valuable way to get out and meet other people in your industry, pass your resume around, shake hands with industry leaders, and get your name out there in your chosen field.
Create an Online Identity
If talking to people in groups sounds a little intimidating, try building an online presence first to get started. One way to introduce yourself online is to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn connects people for the purpose of career networking. Another way is to use other social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, to connect with former employers, co-workers and friends. Just remember to keep your profiles professional. Check for alumni groups on Facebook or LinkedIn for job opportunities. Often times alumni will post a job listing and a hospitality college alumni connection is a great way to start a conversation.
Another one of our helpful networking tips for college students is to network everyday. Think about everyone you come into contact with on a daily basis. Your classmates, peers, and even recent alumni make the best contacts for establishing a network. In this group, everyone is currently looking for job opportunities and they have a good read on the current job market. To add to your growing network, think about other people that can be resourceful connections. Some potential prospects are professors, advisers, coaches, relatives, friends, former co-workers or employers, school organizations, religious leaders, or volunteer groups. Make sure that you keep in regular contact with your network, just like you would a friendship. You don’t want to be that person that only reaches out when he is looking for a job or needs something.
Get to Know Your Industry
When meeting new people, it’s helpful to have knowledge about the top companies in the industry, as well as their mission and core values, and trends in your chosen industry. It’s impressive to potential employers that you have done your homework and you are passionate about your particular field. If, for example, you graduated with a Network Management and Security Associate’s degree, it will benefit you to know the top companies in the field and the latest news about your industry when networking with other professionals.
Maintain Your Networks
As we stated above, it’s important to maintain your network contacts. It takes work and dedication to establish a strong and reliable network of professionals. If you meet new contacts at a job fair for Cyber Security Leadership & Policy Master’s program graduates, make sure to reach out in the next day or two and establish a connection with a phone call or an email. It’s important to leave a good impression with people you meet. Even if they may not have the right career opportunity for you now, they could connect you with another employer or think of you in the future for another position. Who knows where your next opportunity will come from?