- Networking Benefits
- Networking Tools
- Trojan Network
- How to Network
- Informational Interviews
- Networking for Introverts and Extroverts
- Leverage Social Networks
Networking is powerful and vital to your career success. The purpose of networking is not about asking for a job, but about establishing relationships to share career information that may lead to new contacts and 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.
- Communicate your professional expertise, interests, and goals to fellow Trojan alumni
- Establish rapport with Trojan alumni and other professionals
- Increase your knowledge of industries and organizations
- Learn about new fields of interest and build new connections
- Identify opportunities through personal recommendations and referrals
- Share information with Trojans about your industry, career path, organization, people, and opportunities
- Follow-up with new and existing networking connections
The USC Career Center and the USC Alumni Association offer many opportunities to expand your network with the USC Trojan Family. The following are formal and informal networks available exclusively to alumni.
The Trojan Network is an online networking and mentoring platform to share career and industry information. The Trojan Network helps you launch your next career move and make a successful career transition. Create an account today and share your experience with USC students and fellow alumni.
First-Generation Mentor Program
USC Linkedin Groups
The USC Career Center, USC Alumni Association, and professional schools offer alumni access to many different USC LinkedIn groups made up of students, alumni, and employers.
USC Alumni Association
The USC Alumni Association provides many opportunities to expand your network, including connecting with fellow Trojans through online regional and international events, affinity alumni groups, and associations.
How to Network
- Determine what information you want to learn.
- Think about people you already know who might lead to someone with the information you are seeking. Start making a list of the people that come to mind, including family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, former employers, colleagues, former colleagues, former professors, and supervisors. Include contacts you might know through social, professional, and civic affiliations.
- Update your LinkedIn profile with your current contact information, a professional picture, and relevant experience.
- Google yourself and check your online presence. Eliminate information that may seem unfavorable.
- Begin contacting people you know and share your carer aspirations. Introduce yourself to new professionals and request a 30-minute informational interview to learn about their industry, organization, or profession.
- Prepare for the informational interview by writing out your questions, preparing for questions they might ask you, printing out fresh copies of your resume. See more information on informational interviewing in the next section.
- Dress in the attire appropriate to your desired industry for networking events, interviews, and informational interviews, even if the meeting is virtual!
- Send a thank-you note or email within 24 hours of your meeting.
- Invite your new contact to connect with you on LinkedIn and keep in touch. Remember: a strong network is critical to a successful lifelong career!
View this quick video on “Networking 101” for more information.
- Business cards are not required for students, but if you choose to use one, include your full name, phone number, email, areas of experience, LinkedIn URL, and degree.
- Business cards will boost your professional image and communicate who you are to people you meet.
- Monitor your privacy settings on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites regularly.
An informational interview is an informal online or in-person meeting you initiate with a professional in the career, industry, or organization you are considering. Informational interviews expand your network of contacts in your sector 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 most significant challenges and opportunities facing the industry/profession?
- What is the professional culture like at your company/organization?
- Which associations do you belong to or recommend?
- Which industry publications do you suggest I read?
- Who else would you suggest I contact?
View this quick video on “Informational Interviewing” for more information.
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 and research an individual or company in advance. Next, leverage your skills as an introvert. 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 not to dominate a conversation or overwhelm a potential new contact. Be sure to pay attention to others, show interest by asking questions, and listen carefully to responses.
Leverage Social Networks
Social media can be a useful tool for Trojan 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 over 467 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 126 million in the USA. Your Twitter account may be used for professional networking purposes, so remember to consider your profile picture, biography, and background layout. Remember to tweet and re-tweet often to engage in intentional dialogue with other professionals actively. 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 has over 2 billion users and can be a great tool to learn about companies and organizations by liking and following their pages. If you choose to use Facebook for Trojan Networking, you may think about creating a separate profile and interact with potential contacts and employers only. If you use your personal Facebook page, check your privacy settings. Limit access to your pictures, monitor your posts, and be aware of potential jobs.
Our global reach extends to over 133 countries around the world through the Trojan Family and the Trojan Network. USC Trojans benefit from a lifelong and worldwide network, so start networking today and always Fight On!