- Networking Tools
- Networking Benefits
- How to Network
- Informational Interviews
- Networking for Introverts and Extroverts
- Leverage Social Networks
Career networking is simple, powerful, and vital to your career success. The purpose of career networking is not about asking for a job, but establishing business relationships to share career information that may lead to employment opportunities. Networking is a two-way street. As a member of the Trojan family, reach out, share insights, and make new connections with fellow Trojans as you advance in your career.
The USC Career Center and the USC Alumni Association offer many ways to expand your network with USC Trojans. The following are formal and informal career networks available exclusively to the Trojan Family.
The Career Network is an online networking and mentoring platform for alumni to share career and industry information. The Career Network can help alumni launch their next career move and make successful career transitions. We encourage all alumni to set up an account and share your experience with other Trojans.
USC Linkedin Groups
The USC Career Center and the USC Alumni Association along with professional schools have LinkedIn groups made up of students, alumni and employers.
USC Alumni Association
The USC Alumni Association provides many ways to expand your network including connecting with fellow Trojans through regional, international, and multicultural alumni associations.
- Communicating your professional expertise, interests, and goals to others
- Establishing rapport with Trojans and other professionals
- Increasing your knowledge about industries and organizations
- Learning about new fields of interest and build new connections
- Identifying opportunities through personal recommendations and referrals
- Sharing information with Trojans about your field, career path, organization, people, and opportunities
- Following up and staying in touch with your networking connections
How to Network
Think about people you already know within the Trojan family and make a list of your existing family, friends, neighbors, classmates, and former employers. You already have a network through people such as your colleagues, former colleagues, former professors, supervisors, as well as through your social, professional, and civic affiliations.
- Think about people you already know and make a list of current contacts. Remember: Think about what information you want to learn from a contact. However, don’t look to others to tell you what you can research on your own.
- Begin contacting people you know and tell them about what you are seeking (exploring different career options, searching for a particular job, etc.).
- Reach out to new contacts to introduce yourself and ask if they have time to talk with you about their career path. Set up 30-45 minute informational interviews to learn more about their industry or profession and ask for potential advice.
- Be sure to send a Thank-you note or email within 24 hours of your meeting.
- Add your contact to LinkedIn and be sure to keep in touch with people you have met through networking. If you come across an appropriate article to share with them – email it. Send a holiday card. Don’t neglect a contact, as you never know when you might need to call on those in your network. Remember: A strong network is the key to a successful career.
- Business cards are an important tool for networking. They will boost your professional image and can help communicate who you are to people you meet. You will want to include your full name, phone number, email, and your degree on your business cards.
- Make sure that you have a business suit or professional work attire for networking events, interviews, and informational interviews.
- Update your LinkedIn profile with your current contact information, a professional profile picture, and relevant experience to showcase your talents and skill set to potential employers.
- Be sure to check your online presence and monitor privacy settings for social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
An informational interview is an informal conversation you initiate with a professional in the career, industry, or company you are considering. Typically, the best information comes from people who are actually working in that particular industry or field. Informational interviews also expand your network of contacts in your field of interest for future opportunities.
Questions to ask during an informational interview:
- What specific trends are affecting the industry / profession?
- What do you enjoy about working for your company/organization?
- What are the greatest challenges facing the industry / profession?
- What are the greatest opportunities facing the industry / profession?
- What is the professional culture like at your company/organization?
- What associations do you belong to or recommend I look into?
- What industry publications do you suggest I read?
- What blogs, websites, or listservs would be a good resource for me?
- What advice do you have for me?
- Who else would you suggest I contact?
Networking for Introverts and Extroverts
For introverts, the thought of networking might be a daunting task. Initially, introverts should think about networking one-on-one with people they know. Begin by creating a comfortable environment by doing research about an individual or company in advance. Next, leverage your skills as an introvert. You are probably a great listener! Prepare questions in advance and use social media or email to get started networking.
For extroverts, networking and meeting new people may be a fun and natural activity. Extroverts are encouraged to begin networking on a large scale. However, extroverts need to be careful that they do not dominate a conversation or overwhelm a potential new contact. Be sure to pay attention to others, show an interest by asking questions and listen carefully to the response.
Leverage Social Networks
In today’s digital age, social media can be a highly effective tool for career networking. Below are a few ways to get started using social media to increase your opportunities through networking online with other professionals.
LinkedIn manages the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 175 million members in over 200 countries and territories. To use LinkedIn, think of your complete profile as your brand. Make your LinkedIn profile a living representation of you and the skill set you can offer potential employers. Update your profile often, engage with alumni and industry groups, and begin building your network of connections.
Twitter has approximately half a billion registered profiles, with over 100 million in the USA. Your Twitter account should be used for professional networking purposes, so remember to think about your profile picture and biography as well as your background layout. Remember to tweet and re-tweet often to actively engage in an intentional dialogue with other professionals. Twitter can be a useful way to keep up with trends and current events about your industry as well as gain followers in your profession. Use relevant hashtags and follow others to build your network.
Facebook can be a great tool to learn more about companies and organizations by liking their pages and interacting with potential hiring managers. If you choose to use Facebook for career networking, you may think about creating a separate profile and interact with potential contacts and employers only. If you use your personal Facebook page, remember to look at your privacy settings. Limit accessibility to pictures and be mindful of the posts on your page.
Through the Trojan family our global reach extends into 133 countries around the world. Your network is life-long and worldwide, so get out there and start networking today!