Networking is building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships to develop career prospects, whether it is in-person, online, or both. It is one of the most important attributes of career success. Many great job opportunities never make it to the pages of a recruitment website or job board; they get filled by word of mouth. Even if the position is posted, it helps to know someone inside the organization who can give you the inside line. Try these smart moves to excel at networking:
- Start Early: Don’t wait until graduation, and then think “I have no connections.” Build your network throughout your time at Rutgers. Every day is a new opportunity to meet someone.
- Practice That Elevator Pitch: Be ready to introduce yourself wherever and whenever with a basic elevator pitch introduction.
- Actively Engage in Your Classes: Professors have many connections – from professionals in the field to former students. If you establish a positive relationship with teachers they can become valuable resources in your job search later on.
- Reach Out to Other Faculty and Staff: If there’s someone else at Rutgers who you think may be able to provide you with career advice or guidance you have nothing to lose by reaching out and asking, do it!
- Take Advantage of Networking Events: At Rutgers, there are countless opportunities to network. Student organizations often host alumni and employers. Career Exploration and Success conducts events including career and internship fairs, employer panels, and field trips. Visit our website for the most up-to-date events calendar.
- Network Beyond Campus: Networking on-campus is great, but also consider beyond. Attend young professional and interest groups through MeetUp to talk with people that recently went through the job search process. Also, professional associations are a great way to meet professionals working in your areas of interest, network, and learn more about what is happening in the field. As a bonus, these associations often have discounted student membership and conference rates. You will look pretty motivated and forward-thinking as a student attending these type of events.
- Manage Your Reputation: Whether you’re working part-time at a restaurant or interning in a large company, take it seriously and do your best. You never know who could help you in your career by serving as a reference or connecting you to someone.
- Ask for an Informational Interview: Want to connect with individuals that you admire at your internship, at Rutgers, or even in your field? Request an informational interview (learn more) to find out how they got to where they are and ask for any advice they may have for you. This can take place via e-mail or on the phone.
- Offer to Give Back: Networking isn’t a one-way street. As a student you may wonder, “What in the world can I offer?” but you will never know unless you ask. Make it clear to your connections that you’re willing to help as well. You may be able to lend a hand in surprising ways.
- Connect through LinkedIn: Once you’ve made new contacts, connect and touch base with them through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the perfect place to communicate with contacts while maintaining your professional online presence.