A successful job search requires a strong foundation in networking for success. Through your networking informational interviews you learn about companies of interest, you discover the skills required for success in your chosen field, you gain insights into the hiring process at the companies and you can identify advocates within the company to support your search. Networking is critical to a successful search but it can be overwhelming for many people.
At the D’Amore-McKim School of Business MBA Career Center, we support our students and alumni in making these valuable connections. This month we hosted our summer networking event. Current students, alumni and employers all joined us for an evening of networking. Rather than leaving the evening’s success to chance, we begin our networking events with a round robin series of networking. Employers are assigned a specific table. Students have a starting table identified. After the students and employers at the table introduce themselves and chat briefly, the students rotate to the next table. With several structured rounds of networking, everyone in the room has an opportunity to meet a significant number of people in a short period of time. Once everyone is warmed up and the room is buzzing, we open it up to more informal networking.
With the informal networking period, students and employers alike have the option to follow up with someone they met earlier but want to spend more time getting to know then. It is also an opportunity to seek out the attendees you haven’t met yet. With Career Center staff available to facilitate introductions where needed, all attendees maximize their networking connections.
While the energy level is still high from a successful networking event, it is appropriate to follow up. Send a thank you note to people you met, comment on something specific you discussed and identify next steps if appropriate. Help employers remember you by standing out from the crowd with timely, customized feedback.
After a successful networking event, we find students more energized to continue their networking efforts because they see the value of a good conversation.