Networking can seem overwhelming. But this about all of the professionals that you already know! Your parents, parents’ friends, friends’ parents, fellow classmates, SMC alum, faculty members, past supervisors, internship providers, the random person that you spoke with on the plane when you last flew somewhere…anyone can be in your network!
However, it is often nerve-racking to begin the initial contact for asking someone for guidance or a recommendation. Some tips to get you started include:
- Introduce yourself! Remind them how they know you or how you know them and then provide a quick update on your school, your major, or life depending on the last time you saw them or spoke with them and how comfortable your relationship is.
- Let them know you are beginning your job or internship search. Indicate the field in which you are interested to get their minds going.
- Ask them if there is a time where you can speak with them in-person about particular types of positions or fields. People generally enjoy giving advice so soak up all that you can get!
- Ask them if they would be willing to direct you to companies or additional contacts where you may further investigate opportunities. If they direct you to someone they know, ask if either they can introduce you or if they would be willing to let you use their name when you contact them.
- Let them know that you will follow-up with them and let them know what became of their lead.
- Send them a thank you note. While a handwritten note is always appreciated, in today’s world, a professional, well written email is also appropriate.
Remember, others are generally willing to help because someone probably helped them at some point during their career. Make sure that you maintain a positive relationship with them because you may need to ask them for advice again someday! Networking is about building relationships with contacts NOT just getting your résumé into the workplace.
Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites
Facebook can be an extremely beneficial networking tool but all too often it works against young graduates in their job search. It may be the site where all your friends can see the fun you are having in college but that means it is also a place where employers can see all the fun you are having in college. This is a public website and anyone can have access to your profile. Graduates nationwide have been passed over for jobs because of the activities and pictures that appear on these social networking sites.
While you have the right to place whatever you would like on these sites, employers are looking for employees that will represent the company in a positive manner at all times. Therefore, if your Facebook profile would not be a benefit to the company name, they may think twice about hiring you. Having a Facebook profile cannot be the reason that they do not hire you, however, your behavior documented in pictures, the way you speak to other people, the groups you choose to associate with, and any of the other information you have invited the public to view are reasons that they may not hire you.
You are in charge of managing your own character and how others view you. Therefore, there is no policy about your Facebook profile. However, at the CCO, we would encourage you to evaluate what your profile says about and if you should make some changes, we encourage that. If you are unsure what is appropriate and inappropriate, you may always ask us and we can help you go through your profile and discuss aspects you may want to change.
Check out LinkedIn to get and stay connected with the CCO as well as Saint Mary's College alumnae!
Alumnae Resource Network (ARN)
The Alumnae Resource Network (ARN) is a database of contact information of more than 4500 SMC alumnae that can ONLY be accessed through the Career Resource Center in the CCO. This is a great way to begin building your network with professionals through a shared connection: Saint Mary’s College!
In the database, you can search by:
- Position Title
- Job Category
- Geographic Location
- Class Year
- Alumnae Club
- Graduate School
Note: Effective August 1, 2009, the CCO will be encouraging students and alumnae to connect through the CareerCrossings and SMC Alums LinkedIn groups. Although the ARN will still be available, the LinkedIn groups are a more efficient way to search for alums 24/7!
Alumnae Clubs can also be a great resource of potential networking contacts and leads. There are over 50 alumnae clubs throughout the United States in various geographic regions. For a complete list of clubs, visit: http://www3.saintmarys.edu/alumnae-clubs.