Networking

Button to download the Introvert's Networking Resource Directory“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Most jobs (roughly 80%) are not published, meaning you won’t find them in the classifieds or on Indeed.com. Furthermore, the jobs that are published receive approximately six times as many applications as there are employees in the company.

Don't let these facts discourage you. All they mean is that you need to rethink your approach. You need to start networking. If the thought of networking makes you cringe, you're not alone. The tips below are designed for introverts who dread networking. After reviewing the tips, be sure to schedule a one-on-one meetings with a PREPs career counselors to test your new skills in a safe space. Simply click the "Meet with a Career Advisor" button to the right!

Networking 101

What Exactly is Networking?

Networking is simply the sharing of information between you and another person. Asking your neighbor for a restaurant recommendation is an example of networking.

Professional networking involves establishing relationships with people who can help you advance your career. Asking a new contact if they have a job at their place of employment for you, or if they’d be willing to give your resume to HR is NOT networking. Networking is about showing sincere interest in others and being willing to share information with them as well. Networking involves a two-way exchange, not just taking.

How Do I Network?

Network is definitely more of an art than a science, however, the following tips can be used to guide you as your become more savvy in the art of networking.

Have a contact card. A contact card is a personal business card that includes your name, LinkedIn URL, email, cell phone, and areas of expertise. Having your own card to offer will make it easier to ask someone else for his or hers. It's also a great way to promote your "brand."

Develop your already-established network. Don’t overlook your existing contacts. Family members, co-workers, neighbors, people in your religious community are already part of your network. When you spend time with these people, start talking about your future plans and goals. Not only is this good practice, but they may have great advice or opportunities for you.

Seek out new contacts. Being on a college campus, you are surrounded by others with whom you can connect: classmates, student organization members, staff, and faculty are all potential contacts. If there is a specific person you want to have in your network, locate them! Simply approach someone confidently, stick out you hand, and introduce yourself. It sounds scary at first, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Have your elevator pitch ready. An elevator pitch is a speech that can be delivered in the time it takes a ride an elevator. Your speech doesn’t have to be memorized, but you should have several refrains that you can easily customize to your situation. For example: “I am about to graduate from IUPUI with a degree in chemistry. This major allowed me to develop strong problem-solving and reasoning skills. I am currently working as a part-time intern at MolecuTech, which I love….”

LinkedIn is a must for networking. For those unfamiliar with LinkedIn, we have provided a guide below to help you get started.

Keep an on-going list of the people in your growing network. Reach out to them on a regular basis. Offer to introduce them to each other and ask them to introduce you to some of their contacts as well. A great way to stay on top of this is by scheduling 10 minutes a day into your calendar for networking. Make a phone call or write a letter to the people in your network. Let them know what is happening in your life and ask about them.

Don’t view networking as an imposition. Don’t apologize for asking for advice. Most people feel honored that you are looking to them for advice or input. And remember, you aren’t networking just to get something out of someone else. Approach networking from the perspective of “How can I help this person.”

Above all, follow these four rules and you’ll do fine:

    • Smile: It’s easy to do and it tells people that you are friendly and personable.
    • Ask a question: If you’re shy, this is a great way to engage in a conversation.
    • Listen: Good networkers listen; they listen and remember. It’s also a great way to engage if you are shy, because you can let the other person do a lot of the talking.
    • Say the person’s name: People like to hear their own name, so use it in the conversation. Doing so makes the person feel more comfortable, like you really know her and she knows you.

Networking for Introverts

Introversion is one of the Myers-Briggs type indictors to describe one of the major personality types. Those who are introverted are often exhausted by social interactions and find stimulating environments overwhelming. Introverts tend to be reserved, cautious, reflective, independent, quiet (at first), inward-oriented, need solitude to recharge, prefer deeper discussion, prefer fewer and more intimate friendships, and are comfortable being alone.

Networking involves interacting and connecting with others and cultivating relationships. As an introvert, it can feel exhausting going to events and putting yourself out there for the sake of networking. However, you can think of networking simply as making friends, being kind to them, and keeping in touch. Introverts have many qualities that are beneficial for growing and deepening relationships. 

On-campus activities can help you meet people with similar goals and values. Consider joining a few student groups that interest you, attend special events, volunteer to help or run for a leadership role, get to know faculty and staff on campus. These are just a few ways to connect with others on campus. Remember, your friends and classmates are future colleagues, so it's important to cultivate relationships now. You may want to focus on one-on-one interactions to begin, then you can ask friends to introduce you to other friends. Study groups are also great introverted activities as you have the social interaction, but are still doing an introverted activity. 

There are many more resources on this topic, if you'd like to learn more, download the Introvert's Networking Resource Directory by clicking the button at the top of the page.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows you to build your professional identify online and keep in touch with other professionals. You can also use LinkedIn to discover professional opportunities and stay informed with the latest news, inspiration and insights. In a nutshell, LinkedIn is awesome and you should be using it.

Creating your LinkedIn profile isn’t difficult, but it does take time. Below are some tips for creating an excellent LinkedIn profile:

Go to LinkedIn.com to get started building your LinkedIn profile. As you begin filling in your profile, be sure you convey your skills, experience, and everything else you have to offer a potential employer-- so be thorough! Prepare to put a lot of time and thought into your profile page.

Have a dynamic title or tagline to set you apart from everyone else. Most people put their job title in the section directly below their name, but you can use this space to emphasize your unique qualities instead by using a tagline. If you need help coming up with a tagline, meet with your career advisor for ideas.

If you don’t have a lot of work experience, make sure to highlight your volunteer experience and student involvement. This counts for a lot when you are just getting started on your career path.

Take advantage of the summary section. Include your accomplishments, qualifications, and expertise, and use this section to show potential employers how you are unique.

You can customize your URL. Your first and last name is a great option if it’s available. Use your custom LinkedIn URL on your resume and email signature to help lead professionals to your profile.

Connect with others in a personal way. Don't just use the default greeting to connect with others. When you send a LinkedIn invitation, write a personalized greeting that reminds the person how you know them. You are only able to do this on the computer, if you are using the mobile app you don't yet have the option to customize your connection request.

Join groups. Being a member of a group will help you stand out, but even more importantly, groups allow you to participate in discussions, seek advice, and connect to other members. There's a ton of great information being passed around in these groups. Take advantage of all these free resources.

Give and receive recommendations. Recommendations on LinkedIn are the equivalent to job references (and they carry more weight than just getting yours skills endorsed on LinkedIn). While it is easy to hit the “Request Recommendations” button, it is better to reach out personally when asking for a recommendation.

Remember that spelling and grammar is important. Your goal is to impress potential employers. Having an error-free LinkedIn profile is just as important as having an error-free resume and cover letter. Make an appointment to have someone at PREPs look over your profile and help you improve it.

The perfect professional photo: Your photo is the first thing people will see when they visit your LinkedIn page; it needs to exhibit professionalism. PREPs can help you get the perfect shot. Contact our office today to schedule your photo shoot.