Professional networking: it’s an intimidating idea, right? But if you give it a chance, it’s one of the best ways to get where you want to be after graduation – employed.
Networking offers insight into industries you’re interested in, helps you practice your communication skills, and creates connections that could help you land your dream job. Now, traditional networking events aren’t taking place this year, but fear not. Here are some alternatives to keep you connecting.
LinkedIn is a great place to build some professional connections. Creating a LinkedIn account can seem like a daunting task, but it can be done in just a few minutes.
- Get started with your name, education, work experience and any other accomplishments or special skills. This can be copied right from your resume to make it extra quick.
- Consider adding the courses you’ve completed along with some evidence of the work you’ve done in class. Putting a few school projects on your LinkedIn profile can help demonstrate any skills you’ve listed on your profile.
- Don’t forget your profile picture. People are much more likely to connect with you if they can see your face. Remember to keep it professional and have the main focus of your profile picture be your face.
Once your profile has some detail, it’s time to start connecting with people. Other students, current or past co-workers or people working in industries you’re interested in are all good people to connect with. When connecting with people you may not know personally, it’s a good idea to include a message in your connection request explaining your interest.
If this all still sounds intimidating, Career Services has some great tips for getting started on LinkedIn.
BroncoLink is an online networking site for Boise State students to connect with alumni (there are more than 1,000 Boise State alumni on BroncoLink!). All you have to do is sign in to BroncoLink using your Boise State email and password and complete your profile. In just minutes, you’ll be able to reach out to alumni. And BroncoLink even suggests people to connect with based on your interests.
Remember, you’ve been networking your whole life. Networking is simply building relationships. Think back to previous co-workers, supervisors, classmates, family friends and professors. These are all people who are in your network and have network connections of their own. Try starting with people you already know and see if they know anyone you would like to connect with.
by Maggie Short, career development ambassador