What is Networking?
An association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information and the like (dictionary.com). Think of a network of computers; the computers are continually sending information back and forth to one another the same is true for professional networking.
Network to build mutually beneficial relationships that will help you learn about careers in a particular field/industry/employer and to identify potential opportunities.
Before you jump headfirst into UDCAN or LinkedIn, set a few SMART goals. For example, “By December 2020 I will have added 100 connections to my complete profiles” or “Through January 2021, I will conduct one informational interview per month.” This can break down networking and make it manageable and tangible!
Have your profiles reviewed by peers and a professional to ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward. The UD Career Center offers profile reviews to ensure that all of the relevant information is present, that your brief summary tells a great story and that you look your best in an online presence.
Be patient and persistent. Everyone is busy, especially during this global crisis, and professionals will vary widely in their frequency of use of networking platforms. You always want to reach out to more people than you think you need to, and keep trying if you aren’t getting answers. Spread out your efforts to maximize your chances of having good interactions and keep in mind that folks may need some time to reply.
- Good eye contact
- A welcoming presence with a strong greeting
- A friendly smile
- Be ready with your 30-second commercial, be sure to include...
■ Name, education, career-related experiences
■ Activity involvement both on and off campus
■ Skills, strengths, and accomplishments
- Establish a connections (ask open-ended questions)
Almost any social occasion can be used as a networking opportunity. Make sure to take advantage of the events held on campus, popular social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and relevant professional organizations. The Career Center offers an excellent way to connect with alumni and fellow students through UDCAN, which is exclusively utilized by UD students and alumni. For professional organizations related to your area of career interest check out the Career Community page connected to that industry.
|Send thank you notes & follow up with your connections
||Ask for jobs or internships|
|Be grateful for an individual's time
||Treat networking like a formal job interview
|Reach out to referrals that come from your connections
||Communicate informally, like you would with your friends
|Request feedback on your resume
||Spontaneously make up questions|
|Ask to stay in contact & connect on LinkedIn||Be pushy or assuming|
Suggested questions for starting conversations:
● Hello my name is___, how are you today?
● How are you affiliated with UD and what brought you to this event?
● What is your role in ______ organization?
● How did you come to work for ________ organization?
● What is one of your favorite things about your job?
● How do you think most employees would describe your workplace?
● Is there anyone else with whom you recommend I connect with?
Suggested phrases for leaving conversations:
● It’s been great talking with you. Would you be open to a follow-up meeting when you next come to campus?
● I appreciate your time & would like to keep in touch. May I have your contact info?
● Thanks for your time. Can I send you a LinkedIn invitation to further connect?
- Join the UD Career Acceleration Network (UD CAN) where you can network, ask questions and get advice from alumni.
- Join LinkedIn to build your profile and professional network. To find articles and videos that will help you in optimizing your profile, learn how to network and navigate the LinkedIn experience use the LinkedIn for Students page.
An informational Interview is a meeting with a professional (either in person or over the phone) where you can ask questions about their career path. This is your opportunity to gather data that can be useful in your career choice and/or job search.
- Research and identify a career field of interest
- Check out UD Career Acceleration Network (UD CAN) or the UD page on LinkedIn to find UD alumni and friends in those fields
- Utilize your contacts- family friends, supervisors, professors, and former employees are great people to talk to in case they may know someone who works in the field you want to learn more about
- Contact a professional organization in the field you are interested in and see if they have a mentoring program
- Identify and write to a person you are looking to connect with. When introducing yourself to professionals to whom you were referred or are requesting an informational interview of, you will need to craft a brief introductory email or phone call. This email, and all other email communications with professionals, should convey appreciation and be written in a professional business style.
Sample Networking Email with UD Alumni:
Dear Mr. or Ms._________________________:
As a junior at the University of Delaware majoring in exercise science, I found your profile on the Blue Hen Career Network in LinkedIn and noticed that you work in the same field that I am interested in entering. I would greatly appreciate an opportunity to talk with you for 15 minutes to ask some questions that I have prepared and obtain some career advice.
Would there be a convenient time for you to talk over the phone or in-person within the next two weeks? I would be grateful for any career advice you could share and look forward to hearing back from you.
- How did you choose your career?
- What academic path do you pursue to obtain your career goals?
- What type(s) of positions do people with my major have in your organization?
- What are some suggestions for someone who would like to work for an organization like yours?
- What skills do you need to be successful in this job?
- Have you made a career change? If yes, what was it?
- What is the hiring procedure when vacancies occur?
- Do you know of anyone else with whom I should speak?