Get Out There and Network
Published: February 5, 2018
Five networking strategies to help you make a name for yourself.
It’s never too early to start networking. The sooner you begin, the more prepared you’ll be to launch your job hunt when you graduate.
There are many benefits to networking. The contacts you make could provide you with advice, support, a professional reference or even the inside scoop on an open position at their company. Networking doesn’t always come naturally to people. The good news is there are many different ways to build your network. Here are five strategies for putting yourself out there:
1. Social Media
Having a presence online is vital. It will help others find you and help you keep track of your contacts. The most well known site for professionals to network is LinkedIn. Creating a profile allows you to showcase your work experience, skills and even link to work you have done that you are particularly proud of. Recruiters can reach out to you directly. It’s also a great way to keep up with the news in your industry. Take a look at this post from alumna Allison Randall-Gatt for LinkedIn tips. You could also use other platforms like Twitter to share your thoughts about your profession. Take it a step further and create your own website or YouTube channel.
2. Professional Organizations
One of the awesome things about the LIS field is the number of professional organizations and conferences one can belong to and attend. Start by joining a student chapter here at the iSchool; choose from ALA, SLA, SAA, iSchool Connext and VCARA. And don’t just join, be actively involved. The more you put into it the more you’ll get out of it.
3. Personal Branding
How do you want people to think about you when they hear your name? What do you want to be associated with? Personal branding is the process of marketing yourself in a purposeful way. All of the other strategies shared in this blog post can contribute to your personal brand. For example, choose a professional organization that aligns with your values and career interests. Belonging to that group says something about you to other people. On social media, make sure what you post and share builds on your personal brand. Think about your personal brand, then make a one minute commercial.
4. Volunteer and Intern
Volunteering or interning is an easy way to expand your network. It is also gives you the opportunity to learn from others as well as demonstrate your skills. Try Volunteer Match to find volunteering opportunities in your community and the internship pages to search for available internships.
Mentors can be casual or formal. You’ll grow alongside your mentor with their support and encouragement, but your mentor will also learn from you. Consider becoming a mentor yourself; you do not need to have lots of years of experience or be an executive to be a mentor. Get your feet wet as a peer mentor for new students in INFO 203.
In today’s competitive landscape, networking is a critical job hunting tool. Check out these links for more helpful networking advice:
- Networking – an Alternate Approach to Schmoozing
- 3 Easy Steps to Keep Networking Alive
- Create Your Own Networking Card
- Why Your Current Networking Strategy Might Not be Working
- Networking - What Can I Ask?
By adopting these five strategies, you can build a solid network and benefit from the connections you make. Great things can happen just by putting yourself out there. Best of luck to you in your networking adventures!