We all have a community, but how do we build upon the relationships we already have and the ones we're forming in college?
Developing a networking strategy will help you lean on those around you to create meaningful career connections.
of jobs are filled through networking.
- Julia Freeland Fisher, "Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations that Expand Students' Networks"
of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success.
employers ready to network in Handshake.
How do I network?
Put yourself out there. Use these helpful steps to start building your web of connections!
Strong networking skills come from having a strong strategy. You can network passively or directly depending on the situation and environment you are connecting in.
Passive Networking Strategies:
- Following an industry professional on LinkedIn
- Studying career profiles of individuals in your field to gauge career trajectory
- Joining a student organization to connect with your peers
Direct networking strategies usually happen after the groundwork of passive communication have been laid. These strategies involve a little more time and thought about how you want to put yourself out there.
Direct Networking Strategies:
- Taking on a leadership role in your organization
- Seeking opportunity for informational interviews
- Reaching out to professionals about job shadowing
Building your network does not happen overnight, but if you take the time to decide how you want to begin – you will be rich with connections before you know it!
We've all heard it before but it's important enough to repeat: first impressions matter, and you only get one!
Make sure that the brand you are presenting to employers represents what you want them to see. This is a great time to spruce up your LinkedIn page with a new professional headshot appointment in Handshake, and update all relevant information.
Pro tip: If there is something you don't want employers to see, remove it. Recruiters use social media to learn about potential hires, and your social media is an extension of your personal brand. When linking social media handles, remember to keep it professional and up to date.
This is your time to shine! You have done the work to create a beautiful resume, spruce up your profiles and create a solid network. Now you need to lean on this network to boost your success.
Attend recruiting events and networking fairs.
Attending events can create and strengthen organic relationships with recruiters. If there is a connection that you know is going to be an event, go say hi. They might be able to introduce you to other colleagues in the field, thus growing your network.
Reach out directly to professionals in your field.
Do your research and reach out to individuals in the field you know you want to connect with. If it is not possible to connect in person, you could always reach out with a professional email introducing yourself and why you want to connect. This can also be applied to messaging on LinkedIn. Just remember to keep your messages appropriate and professional.
Cultivate your on-campus community.
Develop a relationship with faculty, staff and alumni. LSU has a vast community all over the globe. Check out the LSU Alumni database on LinkedIn to find Tigers in your field. Open yourself up to having conversations and finding common threads with people you meet!
Don't let them forget you! If you had a great conversation with an employer, recruiter, or other professional reach out to them through a thank you email or card. This extra step shows that you are serious and passionate about the connection you made and that you want to keep in touch about upcoming opportunities.
Take the next step.