UT Tyler

Office of Career Success

Networking

Build relationships first. Ask for favors second.

Almost 80% of people are hired through word of mouth. It’s not only what you know, but who you know.

What is Networking?

Networking is the best way to find a job in your field. It is not designed to give you a job immediately, but to build established contacts who work in your area of interest. These established contacts are used as your eyes and ears for future job possibilities.

Networking is about building and maintaining relationships and having a means to tap into the hidden employment market of unadvertised jobs and internships. It is a tool to help you explore your career options, clarify your career goals, and develop connections with professionals in your field of interest.

Individuals in your network may assist and support you in varying capacities, all of which are valuable to your career development. Some may serve as mentors or references, while others may facilitate connections or assist with developing opportunities.

What Networking is NOT!

Networking is not telling a few friends, relatives, career services and/or faculty, “If you hear of anything, let me know.” There is nothing illicit or tactful about approaching friends and colleagues about job openings – it’s just not networking.

It is not one-sided. As you expand your network, so is your contact. If you have a skill, resource or contact that would be useful to them, share it.

What Do You Have to Offer?

  • Knowledge of new products and services specific to your generation that a seasoned professional may have been aware of before or simply didn’t know how to use.
  • Good reads—Busy people have very little time, so they are always open to books that come highly recommended.
  • Recommend a fellow student that has the strengths and skills that the person is looking for, even if you do not.
  • Volunteering for their favorite charity.
  • Offer compliments, good listening skills, and other less tangible (but valuable) gestures of kindness and generosity.

 

Techniques to Assist You in Network Preparation

  • Framing or positioning yourself:
    • Know your own interests, skills, abilities and values inside and out.
    • Practice your elevator pitch.
    • When you leave a positive impression while building your professional network, your new contact may mention you positively to a potential employer, pass your information on to someone else, or call you later with job leads.
  • Conduct employer research.
    • Know the key players in your industry, including individuals, employers and current trends.
  • Understand that rejection is not a reflection of who you are and should not be taken personally.
  • Confidence will be built with each positive response, persistence will be gained with each negative response. With the two working in conjunction with each other, you are well on your way to becoming a networking pro!

Cultivating Contacts You Already Have

Many students believe they have no place to start because they have no direct links to professionals in their field of study. This is simply not true. Just being a student gives you access to an excellent source of contacts: professors! In addition to professors, you can cultivate contacts within your:

  • Immediate and extended family.
  • Family friends and/or neighbors.
  • Social clubs and organizations.
  • Campus clubs and organizations.
  • Church, synagogue and religious groups.
  • Professional associations.
  • Alumni and classmates.
  • Former employers, supervisors and co-workers.
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