Networking is the process of building and maintaining a web of professional
contacts in your field. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Who is a contact? Everyone you meet!
- Tell everyone you meet what you are looking for in a job
- Never make a contact and immediately ask for job. Ask for advice and referrals
- Make networking a goal: numbers and dates turn wishes into goals. Determine to meet a certain number of people by a specific date.
- Learn to network for information. See the questions to use in information meetings below ("You Know Someone Who Knows Someone").
- Start with family, friends, neighbors and move to former bosses, professors, and alumni. Include people who provide a service, salespeople, since they make their living making contacts.
- Use the " Mentor " link in your careerline account. These people have volunteered to help you, so they expect you to call.
- Join student or alumni professional associations in your field. They are an invaluable networking resource.
- Try e-networking, using the power of the Internet to build your contact list.
- Learn to mingle. "Working a room" is an important skill to develop. Even shy people can do it.
- Develop a networking introduction for yourself. What will you say when you cold call a new contact? What will you write in an email to a new contact? See examples of networking introductions below.
You Know Someone Who Knows Someone
(Questions you can use in an information meeting)
- What is your job title?
- What is a typical day on the job like for you?
- What percent of your time do spend each day in various job-related activities?
- What is the title of the person to whom you report?
- How free are you to do your work as you want to?
- Where are you located in a normal working day?
- What types of problems are you likely to face in a day's time?
- What are the most satisfying/most frustrating aspects of your job?
- How did you get to your current position?
- What the trends and developments you see in the field?
- How did you prepare for this occupation?
- What do you recommend for a person entering this profession?
- What education/degrees/training/licenses are required?
- What are the best places to go for additional education or training for a position like yours?
- If you could start all over again in launching your career, what steps would you take?
- What hours do you normally work?
- Is overtime common?
- In what ways is travel a factor in this job?
- What are the professional organizations in this field?
- What are the pressures you contend with?
- How does this occupation affect your private life?
- What other things are expected of you outside of normal working hours?
- What is a typical beginning salary in this field?
- I very much appreciate your time today, and the insights you have given me. Can you think of two or three other people in the field who might also be able to help me?
- May I contact you again if I have other questions?
Examples of Networking
“Hello Ms. Smith. How are you today? My name is _________________
and I am working on my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Cleveland
State University. As part of a project in my career class, I would like
to ask you a few questions about the field of non-profit marketing.
Would it be possible to meet sometime later this week?”
“Hello, Mr. Jones. My name is ____________________. I have just
finished my degree in Communication from Cleveland State University,
and I am very interested in the field of copy writing in advertising.
I know it is a very difficult field to break into, and I would value
your advice. Would it be possible for us to meet for about twenty to
thirty minutes next week to discuss this?”
“Good morning Ms. Brown. My name is _____________________. I
am a graduate student in the MBA program at Cleveland State University.
Dr. Marketing Professor gave me your name. I understand that you are
working on a new project involving research into the buying habits of
college students in the Northeastern Ohio area. I am exploring the possibility
of an internship in market research, and I wondered if this is something
I can help you with. Would you have some time to discuss this in the
next day or so?”
“Good afternoon, Mr. Black. My name is ________________________.
I have just completed my Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information
Science at Cleveland State University. I developed strong database programming
skills in Access and Visual Basic and have a good understanding of Oracle,
as well. I would value your advice about where I can put these skills
to use. Would you have about thirty minutes some time this week when
we could discuss your ideas?”
For more information about networking, check your CSUcareerline
account or the Career Services
Center website for the schedule of career workshops.