Spring break is just days away and, for many students, it’s time to close the text books, sleep, and catch up with friends and family. It can also be the perfect time to begin articulating your goals and summer plans/pursuits with the people you know. Although I hesitate to use the word ‘networking’ (the word seems to strike fear into the hearts of students), spring break is a great opportunity to do just that!
We’ve all heard it, and it’s true: it’s not always what you know, but who you know. Networking is about building and maintaining professional relationships and connections, which can often start with people you already know. Take a look at the CareerSpots video on the Importance of Networking and read through these basic tips (as provided on the downloadable tip sheet):
- Networking is a crucial first step in the job search process.
- EVERYONE you know is included in your network – family, relatives, friends, professors, coaches, former bosses, friend’ parents, etc. (Don’t forget about Career Connections – the alumni mentoring database through LVC! – see this TIP Sheet for information and advice on appropriate networking and informational interviewing)
- Making connections can product a ripple effect. For every person you build a relationship with, that person has relationships with 20 other potential job connections, and each of those another 20, and so on…
- Professional organizations can offer tremendous connections. Internships with these organizations, even if unpaid, may prove invaluable further down the road.
- People who know you can give you an extra edge in landing a job since they can tout your positive characteristics and confirm them.
- Be patient. Networking does not always provide immediate gratification.
So…if the key to a more successful job search lies in networking, spend a portion of your spring break thinking about who YOU know.