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How to network and build connections?

I could use some ways to build professional connections. I recently made a LinkedIn account--but, is this site really effective at building connections? #college #career #resume #networking #linkedin #job-application #personal-development

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Joel’s Answer

Hi Jackie,

That's a great question. I think talking to professors or joining student organizations would be very helpful and an easy way to meet others in your field while in college. However, after college it can be a little more challenging (other than meeting people where you work). But, thanks to technology, it has become a lot easier to meet others. Here are a few suggestions:

1) LinkedIn - you can search for almost any kind of group, field or interest and find people that share those common interests. It is ABSOLUTELY worth investing time in, as many recruiters use LinkedIn in one form or another. Plus, you can read thousands of articles, search for jobs, and connect with others.

2) Meetups - meetup.com is a great way to find social events and activities in a specific area of interest

3) Professional networking events - Facebook is an easy way to find local networking events for all kinds of fields (Business, Healthcare, Marketing, Sports, etc.)

Also, talking to others who have graduated or if you know anyone working in the field you are interested in will give you a good opportunity to find connections and network with others. Good luck!

Joel recommends the following next steps:

Stay active on LinkedIn
Considering going to some Meet up events
Attend some professional networking events

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Genevieve’s Answer

LinkedIn is highly important when it comes to networking and building connections, but it is only one part of the equation. More importantly than having a LinkedIn account, you need to make time to meet people in person.

A good way to network is to start with your college community. Attend any events or join any groups or organizations that interest you. Volunteering is another way to network and meet people as well. If your school hosts any alumni events that are open to current students, attend those as well. If you like a certain professor or have done well in their class, try to develop a relationship with them. Go to their office hours, ask questions during class, attend any events they are speaking at or promoting.

If your college has any job fairs I would highly encourage you to attend those as well. This is a great way to meet recruiters and get to know companies you may want to work for in the future. If you have a good conversation with a recruiter or company representative, ask for a business card and if you can connect on LinkedIn. Try researching the companies & employers ahead of time so you can target the ones you want to talk to instead of wasting time talking to random employers you may not be interested in. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go with an open mind. If a booth looks interesting to you, even if you don't know anything about them, it's worth it to walk up and learn more about what they do.

Meetup is a good website to learn about groups and events that are related to your interests. Create an account and use it find groups or organizations you'd like to learn more about or be involved with. If the group posts an event that interests you, try to attend. Talk to some people there. If you have a good conversation with someone, make sure to ask for their contact information and to stay in touch.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to have a professional online presence. LinkedIn is the best social media platform for this. Use a professional picture or a picture that looks the most professional. Start connecting with classmates, professors, and anyone you meet at events, volunteering, etc. Make sure to include a note with the request saying something like, "Hi {insert name of person} , It was nice meeting you at ____. I'd like to connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch."

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Katy’s Answer

Sit down with a pen and paper and start listing names of people you know. From there, list what they do then the companies they work for. What do their spouses do? What companies do their spouses work for? Are any of those companies in the industry you're targeting? If so, visit their company website and see if there are job postings. If you don't see postings, then inquire with your connection.

Linked-in is important, yes, but what really gets you to stand out is who you know. Employers love referrals. If you can find someone you know who is willing to recommend you, odds are a lot better that you will get interviewed.

You likely already have a much bigger network then you think

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Hanleigh’s Answer

LinkedIn is a great place to reach out to people that are in the field that you aspire to be in, and ask them questions about how they got to where they are. Also, utilize LinkedIn to connect with people that are already in your network: friends, family, church members, fellow alumni, friends or friends, etc. Most importantly, take your conversation outside of LinkedIn and schedule a phone call, meet for coffee, or chat via Skype or Zoom. Try to actually develop a relationship with the person, and may even offer ways that you can be of help to that person. It should be an exchange.

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Ken’s Answer

The most effective networking relationships that you can develop are interpersonal relationships through such means as professional organizations and the alumni department of your school.

We have become too dependent on electronic means and need to return to developing more personal contact.