Value of Networking & Using LinkedIn

Mention the word “networking” and it will send most people running in the other direction. The fear of networking stems from “not knowing how to approach a room full of strangers during an event” or “believing that the recipient of an email request for an informational interview will dub the individual as needy.” Whether in person or through social media sites, networking is the key ingredient to more than 80% of the hires made in the United States.  According to Bob McIntosh on the Recruiting Blog “smart jobseekers attend networking events because they understand that personal networking coupled with online networking will yield better results than spending the majority of their time” on various job boards.

What is Networking & How Do I Use it Effectively?

I work with a team of professional career advisors that teach American University students the value of networking – “making connections and maintaining relationships with people who support you throughout each phase of your career (source:  http://www.american.edu/careercenter).  Our very own School of Communication Professor Chris Palmer and Career Center advisors share the 7 secrets of effective networking* –

  1. Prepare an “elevator speech”
  2. Act with confidence even if you feel shy or intimidated
  3. Communicate in a warm and sincere way
  4. Follow through with referrals, and always thank your contacts
  5. Look for ways that you and your contacts can help each other
  6. Create a system for tracking contact information and notes
  7. Manage your “online image”

*further details provided on American University’s Career Center website – Networking)

 Networking Through LinkedIn – Professional Social Media Tool

As mentioned in a previous blogpost, Your Online Brand, 89% of employers have made a hire through LinkedIn.  This professional network platform has more than 200 million members and it opens the line of communication that help users discover connections and learn about the skills they need to market to future leads. Essentially, your network of contacts may help you to choose the right career, find rewarding opportunities, develop your skills, and achieve your goals.  Once you’ve decided to create your profile, LinkedIn will guide you through various steps to include your contact information, photograph, experience, education, recommendations and more in your profile.  You’ll also get a chance to edit your privacy settings – what is viewed publicly and how you would like to connect with others in your professional network.  Find detailed instructions, including videos on how to use LinkedIn effectively through Lynda.com.

So what’s next? Take a bold step and begin networking in person during upcoming events as well as create your LinkedIn profile.  Our Career Advisors are happy to help you develop your elevator speech, discuss networking strategies and review your LinkedIn profile during an advising appointment.

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