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Why is "networking" controlling everything ?

What is "networking" and why does everyone rely on it to get a job or internship these days. I know no one and I don't know who to network with to achieve what other are achieving. I am interested in pursuing Finance in the future and I need an internship but without "networking" and communicating I can't. I have no idea how this works and many internships have already turned me down.

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Niha’s Answer

Networking is a really big deal, and we all have to know how to do it. It's just a fact of work life these days. I didn't know anyone in my field either, and that left me at a huge disadvantage. A few things I did to help myself were:

1) I just cold emailed people. I performed an internet search on all the places I was willing to drive/travel to, and all the people in my field in those areas. I looked at what work they were doing and determined who to email. I created a basic script of who I was, why I was interested, and what I felt they could offer a student. A lot of people didn't respond, and I got plenty of no's. But, I did eventually find a few people that said yes.

NOTE: In the medical field, internships/clinicals are not paid, so in finance, you might need to include payment in your email, you might not, that would be up to you.

2) I joined a club relevant to my field. The best way to network is to find peers who are also networking. You can help support each other. You may be competing for spots, but they can also help you find new places to apply to.

3) Volunteering. A lot of big businesses encourage company volunteering. Many have programs that are company sponsored, but are open to the public. Looking into those areas can help you network as you volunteer because you meet people from tons of different fields this way.

The truth of networking is that you just have to talk to people that are in the field, or know people who are in the field. Don't be shy about asking friends what their parents do, and if one of them is in the finance field, ask to speak with them. The most important thing is you need to make an impression by asking one or two relevant questions during a conversation, and always ask for a business card. If they remember you, half the battle has been accomplished by the time you apply.
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John’s Answer

Hey Chelsea,

I get this question a lot so I actually gave a TEDx on the topic (see link below).

Networking doesn't control everything, PEOPLE control everything. So networking is how people get to know you. Unfortunately, with internships and jobs, there is A LOT of competition so relationships are often how people make decisions. The best way to network is start where you are with people who have a connection to you (friend of parents, parents of friends, people going to the college you are going to or who recently graduated from there, etc.). My video takes you through what type of message to send, what to do in the meeting, and how to build a community through networking instead of just a list of acquaintances.

Best,
John

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMQQeV74H7U
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Julie’s Answer

Hi!
--Networking has been around for decades, it's just that technology has opened up more ways to research, find contacts and learn what it is. Before internet, search engines, Linkedin, FB., etc. (you can still use these of course), one would pick up the phone, send a typed or handwritten letter, go to in-person professional association meetings, talk to school counselors and teachers, etc., to research topic or field of interest...in your case finance. You can still use these techniques! What about stopping at a nearby bank or two and ask who there would meet with you a few minutes to offer some insights on working in finance or how he/she got started.
--Talk first to a school counselor or research on-line to jot down on note cards/notebook a few specific questions to ask any perspective contact. I use to take those questions with me once I scheduled a brief 'informational' meeting with a contact (starting with techniques I shared above) and consulted those questions to keep the appointment at about 15 minutes, before thanking them for their time. Follow-up with a brief thank you in email or handwritten!
--Reminder to dress nice, fancy or expensive NOT needed, when meeting anyone in-person or on 'zoom'.

Hope this helps a bit and best wishes.
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Mary’s Answer

Hey Chelsea! Niha's response was spot-on. Moreover, if you haven't yet established a LinkedIn profile, it's time to get one up and running! Start by exploring potential job titles you aspire to hold, companies you'd love to be a part of, or industries that pique your interest. Reach out and connect with individuals who are already in those positions. Don't hesitate to send them a LinkedIn message requesting an informational interview! Below is a sample message you can use as a starting point. Don't let it dishearten you if not everyone responds; make an effort to connect with as many people as you can. It's common for people to enjoy sharing their personal and professional journeys, so you're likely to get a response from someone. Remember, networking opportunities are everywhere! I once landed a job because a family I babysat for in high school had connections with a company I was interested in, and they were happy to recommend me. Stay persistent - networking, like any other skill, requires practice to perfect.

Hello [X]!

I'm [X], and your profile caught my attention while I was searching for [describe what you are interested in, for example: professionals in the finance sector of major corporations]. Your unique experience and background truly piqued my interest, and I hope you don't mind me reaching out. Your career journey – [mention one or two of their experiences] – is truly inspiring. I'm eager to connect, learn about your experiences and the significant work you're undertaking at [X], and gain insights from your journey. [Add a line here about being a student, exploring career possibilities, and your interest in conducting a brief informational interview]. I understand that your time is precious, but if you could spare a few moments for a chat, I would be immensely grateful. If not, that's completely fine!
Thank you comment icon Mary, I LOVE that you included a draft email copy. Many times our learners don't know how to begin. It's awesome to see that you're thinking about this sometimes initial barrier and shared a way for Chelsea and many others to get started right away! yoonji KIM, Admin
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Caroline’s Answer

Hi!

Networking is all about who you know. Although your network may feel small while you're in high school/college, it is probably much bigger than you realize. Your friends, friends parents, teachers/professors, and any activity/sports coaches or instructors are all part of your network. As others mentioned in their answers, creating a linkedin profile if you don't have one already is a great place to start and an easy way to connect with people in areas you are interested in!

Best of luck with your internship search!
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