According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics over 70% over jobs are found through networking. You can make this statistic work for you by strategically building your network early. Starting to build your network before you’re actively job searching, can help you ensure you have a contact within your target company who can help you succeed in your application. The sooner you make and maintain connections with people at your target companies, the greater your network of connections will be when it’s time to apply.
For more networking tips, check out the recent blog posts on networking on the Center for Career Development Blog
Important words of wisdom: Never ask a networking connection if they can get you a job. It’s rude and the answer is generally “no.” A much better strategy is to ask for advice and try to learn about the company through your contact. Ask if you can reference them in your cover letter. Share what you are looking for in general, what your skills are, and wait for them to offer up information about potential openings as they see fit.
Building Your Connections
Think about who you already know: friends, family, co-workers, supervisors, classmates, etc.
Utilize the UConn Husky Network to network with alumni:
- LinkedIn Alumni Search Tool
- UConn Alumni LinkedIn page
- The Alumni Association’s Class Ring App (It’s currently available in the Apple Store or Google Play)
- Joining your local alumni network
- Attending networking events through the Alumni Association
Ask the people you already know if they can introduce you to their contacts in specific fields or organizations.
- See what alumni from different majors did with their degrees
- See what companies have alumni from your major
- See what skills graduates of your major report having
- Find alumni and expand your network by reaching out for informational interviews
An Informational interview is when you talk with a professional in your field of interest to gain a better understanding of their profession, their day-to-day responsibilities, and the skills necessary for success in their field. The purpose of informational interviewing is to gather information and determine if the career may be a good fit for you; this is not a job interview. You should not expect to be offered a position or an internship, but should go into the experience with the goal of gaining an inside view of the occupation. This experience also provides the opportunity to begin building a network of professional contacts within in a chosen field. Informational Interviews typically last 30-60 minutes and can be done in person or over the phone.
Job Shadowing – Visiting the workplace
A Job shadow is like an extended informational interview. Job shadows typically last for a few hours or can take place over a full day. During the visit to the workplace, you will observe a professional in your occupation of interest to get an inside look at what an average day on the job is like. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the skills, education and experience necessary to be successful in that particular occupation. Job shadows also provide the opportunity to begin networking with professionals in a field of interest.
The Center for Career Development (CCD) organizes regular visits to local employers called Career Connections. UConn Career Connections include a job shadow, round table lunch discussion, overview of available opportunities, and an opportunity to network with alumni. Check the CCD events calendar to find and register for upcoming Career Connections or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
On-campus networking and career events are great ways to network with alumni and employers. Check the CCD events calendar to find and register for upcoming events, panels, and career fairs.