Networking is the art of building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. By networking with professionals in targeted companies or occupations that interest you, you may find more opportunities are available for you. Networking opportunities that are available to you include events put on by Career Services, social media, friends, and family.
Keep reading to find out how you can use networking to your benefit, and how you can network in ways you might not have thought of before!
Benefits of Networking
People often expect an immediate payoff from networking. However, creating meaningful, lasting connections with people takes time. Building a powerful network also requires you to help others as much as they help you. As you meet new contacts, listen for ways you can help them. Over time, you may find that your willingness to step in pays off!
Some benefits of networking include: the opportunity to increase your visibility by being seen at professional, social and community events; an expanded pool of professional contacts; a chance to build your personal brand; access to powerful and influential individuals; increased marketability within your industry; and a way to position yourself for new career opportunities. The benefits and possibilities from networking are endless!
Using LinkedIn to Build Your Network
LinkedIn is a very powerful networking tool that you can use to build and maintain your professional network. If you don’t have a profile set up yet with LinkedIn, we highly recommend setting one up before you begin networking!
Through LinkedIn, you can make your network aware of your job search status, find out where other people within your industry are working and see what their path to their current position has been, and connect with people you may not have had the opportunity to meet with in person. You can also find hiring managers for jobs you would like to apply for so that you can write more effective cover letters.
During your college career and throughout your work life, you will have opportunities to attend professional and social events where participants “network.”
Here at USF, there are tons of opportunities for you to practice your networking skills and build your contacts. The Career & Internship Fair Weeks, held once in both the fall and spring semesters, provide a way for you to connect with contacts from a variety of companies in many different industries. These events are good for students of any year, regardless of whether you are looking for a full-time job or internship. If you’re a first-year student, you can come to the Fairs to prepare yourself for what it will be like when you are seeking employment, and you’ll make connections with recruiters that will likely be recruiting a couple years from now. If you’re in your senior year, you can use the fairs as a way to match your face to your application, and you might even have a chance to sign up for an on-campus interview!
Other networking events that the Career Services office hosts include Employer Spotlights, Information Sessions, and Careers & Coffee events. All of these events are listed in Handshake so that you can easily find events that align with your schedule and allow you to interact with companies that you want to meet.
For more information on networking, please visit our website