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I recently attended an SPS Career Services workshop and networking seminar lead by career expert Arlene Newman. Newman is the President of Career Bound Success and has an extensive background in Human Resources across multiple industries. Newman emphasized the importance of networking in career endeavors and divulged techniques that are useful for successful networking. I will highlight the key points of the seminar and share with you some of the points I think are effective.
Before embarking on your networking journey, it is necessary to devise a clear plan by outlining your objectives, profiling your unique personality, and highlighting your strengths. It is fundamental to ask yourself these questions so you can offer a thorough presentation and give others a clear vision of who you are and what you have to offer. This is also known as an “elevator pitch”– a 30 second to 2 minute clear, concise and carefully planned description that summarizes your personal brand.
From here on, your focus should be on building rapport through the following networks:
• Friends & Family
• Work and Professional Organizations
• Classmates, Alumni Groups and Professors
• Community, Political and Religious Organizations
It is very important to have a positive and enthusiastic attitude in your communication with others. No matter what mood you are in or if you left your last job on a negative circumstance, ensure that your comments are positive. You also must be prepared–this means having a business card ready for all networking events. Your card can display “student” and your major, and if possible, list skills on the back of the card, or even an inspirational quote that is a reflection of your principles. Follow up with every individual through e-mail or a phone call. If there is no answer, always leave a voicemail.
Keep in mind that technology is not 100% reliable, so if you do not get a response the first time, it is okay to send a second e-mail.
Research your field, as well as individuals and organizations pertaining to it. This will prepare you to participate in conversations and become aware of trends and events.
Networking has become an extremely broad concept through our technological evolution, as we now have the tools to increase our networking capabilities. Companies, graduate schools and organizations, are fully aware of this and using online search tools to investigate candidates. Newman stressed the importance of maintaining a professional online presence. To prevent the possibility of a negative image, Google yourself regularly and interact in social networks with your professional image in mind.
Key words for networking:
Authenticity– Be proud of who you are, your background, your skills and your traits. Use this to your advantage- it makes you unique!
Consistency– Your ideologies should remain the same anywhere you are visible
Credibility- Build trust by being honest and upholding integrity with each person that you meet.
Unique – In a competitive job market, it is vital to display what makes you different, in order to distinguish yourself from the rest.
Visibility – In order to network, you must be noticeable to the world – achieved through attending events and sustaining a public online presence.
Following these networking guidelines are a start to building long lasting relationships with individuals that can assist you in building your education and career. With every person you meet, you should treat the interaction as a potential opportunity. You should also incorporate philanthropy in networking by approaching it as a two way street- expect to receive as much as you give out.
Don’t worry if you missed this workshop, you have an opportunity to attend Ask The Expert this Wednesday 11/9 at 6pm. This SPS Career Services program and networking event features a panel of Human Resources professionals answering all your questions about job search and careers. There’s still time to sign up!
Nivia Martinez is a senior undergraduate student at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, majoring in Communications and Culture. Upon graduating, she plans to continue her education by pursuing her Masters in international studies and sociocultural anthropology. In her spare time she enjoys attending cultural events and attending sport events with her 11 year old son, Esteban.