Networking: Where to begin?

This guest post comes from Julie Draczynski, an alumna of Holy Cross and HR veteran.
She knows the value of shaking hands and working a room, and we’re fortunate enough to learn from her wisdom!

“How have you incorporated networking into your job search?”

Ah, the fated question that so many people shy away from. Networking doesn’t have to be difficult or scary if you know how to approach it in a way that works best for you. As a Holy Cross Alumna (’99), I remember what it felt like when graduation was around the corner and I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do once I left the hill. Then, as someone who just left a company after 11 years to try something different, I know firsthand how important networking is as you discover the best job fit.

“So what is networking, really?”

Networking IS a process of building relationships with people who can provide you with information, advice and referrals to increase your visibility in the job market.

Networking IS NOT contacting people to ask for a specific job within a company.

As a Holy Cross student about to enter the job market, you should be using two key resources to network: Holy Cross Alumni & LinkedIn.com.  Connect with Holy Cross Alumni through the Alumni Online Community and the Career Advisor Network (CAN), which consists of Alumni who have volunteered to meet with students to discuss their careers. Talk with Alumni who are in a role/industry that interests you or are at a company that you are targeting. My general sense is that alumni are proud to be Holy Cross graduates; they’ve been there and are happy to chat with a soon-to-be fellow Holy Cross grad.

LinkedIn.com is a great networking tool that will help you broaden your network of contacts.  The “LinkedIn Tips” document below will outline how to set up your profile and grow your connections. Use the LinkedIn search tools to search for specific jobs (yes, jobs are posted on LinkedIn and recruiters use that site to search for potential candidates) and to research companies that you may be interested in. When you see a job you are interested in, look at any current employees you may be connected to (1st or 2nd degree). Reach out to those connections and ask for an informational meeting to learn more about the company, the role you’re interested in, if appropriate, etc…

Networking is an essential part of the job search process. It will help you better define what you are and are not looking for in a job and/or company. It can lead to job opportunities that are the right fit for you!

So, have you reached out to someone yet today?

Additional Resources on Networking:

LinkedInTips
Networking Strategies and Tips

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