University of Utah Career Services
Hi all! How did the Career Fair and Job Fair last week go for everyone? How many of you got an interview, a connection at a great company, or just learned something about job-hunting? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your stories! We’ll try to post some of your experiences on the blog in the coming weeks.
Although the fairs are over, I wanted to take the opportunity to write about the power of networking this week.
First, why network?
You might be thinking that networking is just an obnoxious buzzword that professionals and your career counselors love to use. I promise (from first-hand experience!) that this is not the case. Networking isn’t asking people to give you a job, rather it’s taking the opportunity to get to know other people who are in your desired industry or share your interests and then build relationships with them. Those relationships may lead to a job or an internship, but they also might prove to be valuable resources in gathering career information or even turn into mentors.
How to network?
This might be a bit broad, so I’m going to focus more on how to start building your network. I know when I was first told to “use my network, ” I could only think – “I don’t have one”. Sound familiar? Don’t worry – you do! First and foremost, your peers. These are people that you see on an almost daily basis – they all have their own networks that they might be able to connect you with. Your family, friends, and neighbors can all be used as a starting point for networking. You can also branch out from people you already know. Join a club or professional organization – these are great ways to meet people who have connections in your industry, and automatically gives you something in common. And the University of Utah has endless opportunities for you to get involved with on and off-campus opportunities.
Sometimes, you find a connection in a completely random way. I was in physical therapy the other day and talking about one of my career interests (Event Planning), when someone (who happened to have an awesome connection in the Event Planning industry) overheard me. Long story short, I walked out of my appointment with a contact…that turned out was more than willing to talk with me! While I know this isn’t the most common way to build a network, it does highlight the point that networking doesn’t just happen in formal business settings (such as a career fair), and that it might be easier to build a network than you think.
One last piece of advice for the week:
Dig your well before you need it (i.e. start making your contacts and building your network early – the day you need a connection in order to get your dream job is not the time to start making connections!)
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