4 steps to expanding your network

by Elizabeth Griffith | Mar 21, 2018

By Hannah Swogger | March 21, 2018

4 Steps to Expanding Your Network title with photos at networking event

Did you know: 80% of job openings are never posted to the public? They are filled through networking and internal hiring.

That’s why, in every field of work, building a network and maintaining a positive professional image is so important for your career. Everyone you meet could be a contact who connects you with a meaningful opportunity. That’s why The Exchange is here to help Marian University students and alumni in their quest to become involved in their professional communities.

Get started now with these four steps to expanding your professional network:

Step one: Don’t forget the network you already have established

All your family and friends, everyone you meet in class, every faculty or staff member you interact with at Marian University is a part of your network. Continue to develop these professional relationships. Share your professional goals, and ask questions about others’ experiences. You may be surprised what you can learn from the experiences of those around you. Many of your close personal contacts may know someone in your field. Don’t be afraid to ask! Those who know you best are likely to want to help you out and connect you with people who may share your professional interests.

Step two: Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows you to not only build a professional profile and establish a brand for yourself online, it also is a powerful networking tool you can leverage to meet new contacts in the desired location and/or field of work that interests you. By going to the Marian University page on LinkedIn and clicking “see alumni,” you can search through thousands of graduates pursuing a variety of different careers.

To learn more about using LinkedIn, establishing your profile, finding jobs and connecting with alumni, request an appointment with a career coach from The Exchange. We even take professional portraits to add as your profile picture.

Step three: Attend Networking Knights on March 27th, 6:30pm

Practice your in-person networking skills through a speed networking event with alumni and community partners. Arrive professionally dressed and ready to mingle! Networking is the #1 way to get a job, don't wait until you’re in the job search to develop your networking skills.

This event works a little like speed dating, with 5-minute sessions of networking with alumni and friends of Marian University. Enjoy great hors d'oeuvres and network with professionals in your industry, followed by a panel of participants to offer feedback and networking tips for our students.

Pro tip: Research who is attending ahead of time on LinkedIn and seek out those with similar interests and careers as you. Bring a list of questions to learn more about them—the best way to show someone respect is to take an interest in their passions. Also don’t be afraid to share your own aspirations. The conversation is always an exchange of ideas.

RSVP on KnightWork requested for current Marian students. Professional attire required.

Step four: Keep your connections alive!

There’s a lot more to networking than meeting new people. Follow up with the connections you made at Networking Knights by sending them a thank-you note. To those you would like to pursue a further professional relationship with, you may want to schedule a follow-up meeting or request a job shadow experience. Connect with everyone on LinkedIn and touch base with them periodically. Keeping these professional relationships will build a foundation of support for you in your career, whether they lead directly to job offers or not. 

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