If you want to build a new career, it’s never too early to start building your network. Even if you are still in school, learning the skills of your new profession, it’s time to start networking. Here are 5 steps you can take right now to get started:
1. Utilize Career Services. Does your school have a career services department? At ANU, we can help you prepare to make successful networking connections and advise you regarding how to build your professional network while you are still in school. Take advantage of resources to help you build your portfolio and prepare for your career. Find professional groups, internships, volunteer opportunities, and part-time jobs. Learn how to create your “elevator pitch” to best summarize your skills to someone who might be able to help you land a position. We’ll work with you to make sure your resume and cover letter represent what you’ll bring to your future employer. We’ll give you personalized career advice and even conduct mock interviews so you’re ready for your next job interview.
“When I think about my own career,
I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking."
-Tom Farley, president of the NYSE1
2. Connect with your instructors. Your instructors are professionals from the field you’re hoping to enter. Take advantage of all they can teach you about what happens outside of the classroom? Don’t miss an opportunity to find out what—and who—they know. They could help you connect with externships and people from your new profession. Impress them with your hard work while in school and they’ll be happy to make you a part of their network.
3. Build relationships with your classmates. Your classmates will soon be your colleagues. Demonstrate that you’re serious about all you’re learning and the direction you’re heading. They may be able to link you to opportunities and jobs. They may even be in a position to hire you someday. Or maybe you’ll be the one in charge looking for the right employees among your former classmates.
“As you build your professional connections, networking can happen in unusual yet ordinary ways and places…
Be prepared to engage with people you know and don’t know. You might be sitting beside or standing in line with the person that could link you to your career opportunity.”
– Shonny K. Cooke, Executive Director, ANU Career Support Services
4. Attend networking events. Job fairs aren’t just great places to look for a job in your new career; they’re also great opportunities to get to know others in your industry. Also look into events held by clubs and organizations specific to your industry. The more you’re able to practice your interpersonal skills, the more comfortable networking will become to you.
5. Get on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that lets you connect with others in your industry. By displaying skills and experience on the site, employers can find you. You can reach out to people you know on LinkedIn and also connect to the people they know. The potential is limitless!
Are you ready for your new career? Then, it’s time to start networking. If you’re already a student at ANU, contact Career Services for further techniques and tips for effective networking. If you’re still deciding on what your new career will be, check out all of our programs in Business, Health Sciences and Information Technology. We’ll provide you with the in-demand career skills you’ll need for your new career.