- Networking Benefits
- Networking Tools
- How to Network
- Informational Interviews
- Networking for Introverts and Extroverts
- Leverage Social Networks
Career 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 field, 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 career networks available exclusively to alumni.
The Career Network is an online networking and mentoring platform for alumni to share career and industry information. The Career Network helps alumni launch their next career moves and make successful career transitions. 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 regional, international, age-based programs, and 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 anything that might seem unfavorable.
- Begin contacting people you know and tell them what you are seeking (For example, looking for career options with your major, seeking advice on transitioning to a new industry). Note: Avoid asking for information you can easily research. Introduce yourself to new professionals and request a 30-minute informational interviews to learn more 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.
- 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 the key to a successful lifelong career!
- Business cards are not generally required for students, but if you choose to use one include your full name, phone number, email, areas of experience, and your degree.
- Business cards as an alum might 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 sites on a regular basis.
View this “Networking 101” video for more information:
An informational interview is an informal meeting 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 and opportunities facing the industry/profession?
- What is the professional culture like at your company/organization?
- Which associations do you belong to or recommend I look into?
- Which industry publications do you suggest I read?
- 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, and do 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 responses.
Leverage Social Networks
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 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 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 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 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, check your privacy settings. Limit accessibility to pictures, monitor your posts, and be aware of posts you may be tagged in.
Through the Trojan Family our global reach extends to over 133 countries around the world. USC Trojans benefit from a lifelong and worldwide network, so start networking today and always Fight On!