Networking simply involves working with personal contacts. You can begin to build a networking team from contacting anyone you have ever met: family members, friends, neighbors, family doctors, church members, high school and college classmates, alumni, sports partners, former employees, professors...the list goes on and on! These people, when properly cultivated, will make introductions, open doors, and help you develop relationships that may result in career opportunities.
Ideas for Networking Contacts
Part of the mission of this office is to develop relationships with businesses and organizations for the purpose of creating job opportunities. Several organizations have a working relationship with Career Services due to the several Career Link days held a year.
Professional and Trade Associations:
Almost any occupation you choose will have a professional association. For a complete listing, consult the Encyclopedia of Associations and the National Trade & Professional Associations of the United States. Within these associations will be several opportunities for career networking, whether through volunteering for a project, attending a regular meeting, or attending a charity event.
Cedarville University has graduates placed all over the world. You may make contacts at certain companies or in certain geographical areas by calling the Alumni Office. Career Services is now developing Career Net, a group of alumni and parents interested in aiding students with career placement.
Utilizing your network team and building your contacts will require thought and follow through. Approach each contact in accordance to your relationship with that person. For example, you will approach a family member much more casually than a faculty member or a local business representative. In any case, remember to be polite, professional, and appreciative. Treat people with care and always remember to follow through with promised actions and thank you's. Your network team members may become lifelong friends who are interested in your personal and professional growth.
When approaching a potential networking contact, follow these simple guidelines:
- Give them a thorough background of your career. They will need a resume, a knowledge of your accomplishments, and a feel for your character in order to feel comfortable recommending you. Be positive and considerate of their time.
- Clearly define your career goals: Let them know your objectives so they know how to help you. Keep an open mind when considering options.
- Give them reasons to help you. Show your initiative, competence, work ethic, and marketability. They need to know you will be an asset to any organization that hires you.
- Cultivate these contacts! Let them know about your progress, your success, and your needs. Let them know if you have been hired, even if it was not through this lead. Always send a thank-you note when they have shown interest in or helped you.