Don’t Let Networking Scare You

Though many students are interested in industries that recruit for internships or full-time positions in the spring semester, now is a great time to start building connections that will help you in that search. Connecting with alumni and other professionals to further explore your fields of interest will help you clarify your goals, better understand the industries you are considering and how to articulate your relevant skills, and give you stronger connections when you do begin actively searching for and applying to positions.

The term networking gets a bad rap, but the concept doesn’t have to haunt you. As you start out, find a way to network that is comfortable for you and then gradually push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Following are six tips for networking that will give you chills and thrills:

    1. Make No Bones about It – you know more people than you realize: Create a list of everyone you know—and people they know—and identify how they could help you gather career information or experience. Include friends, professors, coaches, supervisors, co-workers, and even friends’ parents.
    2. Shadows aren’t always frightening: Boston College has many wonderful alumni mentoring programs, which are a great way to build relationships and learn about a profession at the same time. One of these programs is the Career Center’s Winter Break Job Shadow Program (register Nov. 1-13). Over 300 students will participate in this program this year, why not you?  See Eaglelink on or after November 1st for details.
    3. Don’t Be A Scaredy Cat – create or update your LinkedIn profile. Add work history (including internships and part-time jobs), skills, and keywords. Make connections to people you’ve worked with or met through networking. Ask for “recommendations” from people who have worked with you.
    4. (Trick-or-) Treat Someone to Coffee for an Informational Interview: LinkedIn is a good source of people to contact for informational interviews. It’s best to ask to meet in person or by phone for a short interview. There are over 13,000 students and alumni in the Boston College Career Community on LinkedIn who want to help you! Ask questions about their experience in the field and at their organization and seek their advice on you can get your foot in the door. Plan your questions ahead of time, but be open to adapting as the conversation progresses.
    5. Shed Those Ghosts and Goblins – speak to company representatives at career fairs, networking nights, and on-campus information sessions. Even if you’re not ready to apply for jobs, start making these connections now and asking questions that will help you prepare to apply.
    6. The Start of a Boo-tiful Relationship – mind your manners! Remember to be courteous and tactful in all your conversations, to send thank-you notes to people who help you, and to find ways to help others as well. Nurture the relationships you’ve built and look for opportunities to build new connections throughout your career.

Want more information about how to use networking for your job or internship search? Attend this workshop: Turbo Charge Your Job & Internship Search: The Power of Networking, November 15, 4:00 PM. RSVP in EagleLink.

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