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Campus Life

Strategy

Searching for a job is a process. Begin by asking yourself:

  • What do I want to do?
  • Where do I want do do it?
  • Who can provide me with advice and assistance?
  • What skills have I developed through my internships, classes, involvement, service, and part-time jobs?

Tips for Successful Networking

  • What do I need to know about networking and why is it important?

    Career networking involves developing mutually beneficial relationships with people who can assist you as you research your career, make decisions about various career options, and search for a job. Developing networking skills is extremely important, not only for the short-term, but because networking will be a life-long pursuit. Networking in the work place will always be an essential part of every professional life because cultivating contacts and building relationships are the keys to success in almost every job.

    What you get from career networking: People in your network can offer you valuable insider advice and information about a particular career, company or industry, give you job leads or introduce you to others so that you can expand your network, gaining even more information. Studies show that 70% of all jobs are found through some type of networking.

    What you give when you are networking: In general, people are flattered to be asked for assistance and advice. It makes them feel important and people enjoy talking about their work. Almost everyone welcomes the chance to help a young professional get started or assist someone who is making a career change. You may also be able to share current information obtained from your career research and academic work as well as pertinent contact names.

  • How do you "do" networking?

    Some networking is spontaneous and unplanned. You simply need to adopt the mind set to take advantage of any serendipitous opportunities you encounter when you are in job search/research mode. Ask questions, tell people what you are interested in, collect contact information, and schedule future meeting times if appropriate.

    Other networking is much more strategic. You can start by making lists of people you know. (See What kind of people can I approach to be in my network?) Most people can create an initial list of at least 25 to 100 people. Don't forget that Otterbein alumni can be great resources as well; contact the CCP for names in your field of interest.

    Before you begin contacting people, be sure of your goal. Your goal may be to solicit information about a career field or a specialization within that field, or to learn about a particular organization. This type of information gathering is usually called an "information interview." Decide who might be able to help you meet your goals best and contact them in a systematic way. You can phone or e-mail them, or you may seek them out in person. Develop a short "script" to introduce yourself and become familiar with this script so you can communicate it easily and concisely whenever needed. Also develop lists of questions you want to ask. Sample introductory scripts and information interview questions can be found in the CCP.

    Sample introduction

    For students:
    "Hi, Mr. Jones. My name is Jane Smith and I am a classmate of your son. He suggested that I give you a call."

    "I am considering health administration as a career and I'm trying to learn more about the field and the type of opportunities that are available. Doug told me you work for Ohio Health and have a lot of experience in the area of hospital marketing."

    "I'd like to sit down with you and talk at your convenience to get your advice. Would you be willing to talk with me?"

    For alumni:
    "Hi, Mr. Jones. My name is Jane Smith and I am a friend of Frank Baker. He suggested that I give you a call."

    “I am thinking about a career change to health administration and am researching the field to learn about the type of opportunities that are available. Frank told me you work for Ohio Health and have a lot of experience in the area of hospital marketing."

    Caution: Be prepared to ask your questions when you call; they may want to talk to you immediately on the phone. More detailed information about information interviewing is available on the Interviewing section of this site.

    Another goal may be to solicit help in finding a job. If this is your goal, make sure to present yourself well from the start. Begin by talking to friends, acquaintances, relatives and former colleagues. Tell them you are looking for a job and need their help. Be as clear as possible about what you are looking for and what skills and qualifications you have. Ask them for job leads, for someone else who might have job leads, or someone who knows someone who might have job leads. Sometimes you can simply ask if they know someone who knows a lot of people. Contact these referrals and ask the same questions.

    For each original contact, you can potentially extend your network of acquaintances by dozens of people. Eventually, one of these people will hire you or refer you to someone who will. If used thoroughly, networking may be the only job search technique you'll ever need.
  • What are some good tips for the beginning networker?

    • Get involved. Joining groups of any kind helps develop needed networking skills. Taking a leadership position, even a small one, is even more valuable. In addition, there are professional networking groups that are open to the public in most major cities.
    • Attend professional conferences. Most professional organizations have annual conferences and these can be a great way to get to meet people in your field of interest.
    • Connect with people on campus. Faculty, administrators, advisors, and coaches can be valuable sources of advice, guidance, and contacts. Even though you may have graduated, don't hesitate to contact those who were helpful to you when you were a student.
    • Get to know alumni. There are ready-made contacts in the CCP's alumni network who will help answer your career questions.
    • Shadow someone. Observing someone for a day is a great way to get information about specific career fields. Once again, the Career Center and faculty can help you find people who might be willing to be shadowed.
    • Volunteer. It can be an excellent way to meet people who could be valuable supporters, role models, and contacts in your networking efforts while you are making a contribution to the community.
    • Don't hesitate to enlist the help of relatives. It's o.k. to let a relative help pave the way to a job connection. Once you get an interview it is up to you to land the job.
    • Use the Internet. Explore web sites, social networking sites, join newsgroups, and use the web's people and business directories.
    • Have a resume on hand whether you think you'll need it or not. You never know when a casual encounter can turn into a potential networking situation, so keep copies of your resume with you all the time.
    • Create a "business" card. Even though you may not have the traditional business card as an employee of a company, you can make personal business cards with your contact information and an outline of your career goals and/or qualifications. Think of it as a calling card. When someone asks you for your name and numbers, you'll have your contact information ready in a professional-looking form.
    • Don't forget to thank everyone in your network who has been helpful to you. Get in the habit of writing thank-you notes. Acknowledging people who do you a favor, provide an opportunity, or inspire you is not only common courtesy, but it also keeps them an active part of your network.
  • What kind of people can I approach to be in my network?

    You already have a network just waiting to be cultivated. Everyone you have ever met is a potential networking contact.

    Your Network of Personal Relationships

    • Immediate family
    • Relatives near and far
    • Close friends, old friends, ex-roommates
    • Personal doctor, lawyer, insurance agent, banker, beautician, barber, clergy, church members, etc.
    • Neighbors (old and new)
    • Friends of friends of friends

    Your Network of Professional Relationships

    • Fellow workers in past jobs
    • Supervisors in current or former jobs
    • People you have met on internships
    • University faculty and administrators
    • University support staff
    • People you meet at professional conferences

    Your Network of Organizational Affiliations

    • Members of civic or professional organizations to which you belong
    • Members of community or volunteer groups
    • Sorority or fraternity connections
    • University alumni networks
    • Members of clubs, teams or recreational organizations

    Opportunistic Networks

    • People you meet at parties or sporting events
    • People you meet wherever you can strike up a conversation
    • Someone you meet while running errands
    • A speaker in a workshop, seminar or classroom
    • Someone interesting you read about online or in the paper
    • Chance meetings of any kind

    Online Networks

    • Blog websites focused on specific professional interestso Discussion groups and community forums based on endless subject matter
    • Associations and organizational sites dedicated to the purpose of networking
    • Social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Top 10 Tips for Successful Networking

    1. Don't try to become a master networker overnight. Try a small number of networking activities per week and let your confidence build slowly with each positive experience.
    2. Don't assume you're being a pest. Most people are glad to help. Also remember that about 75% of the American population is extroverted! 
    3. Rely on your supporters. When you need encouragement and sympathy, don't hesitate to turn to them. 
    4. Keep in mind all the successes you have had in life. These recollections help you face networking situations. 
    5. Don't try to do it alone. If attending a big networking event it too intimidating, take a friend along. Just be sure not to stay "glued" to the friend the entire time. 
    6. Enlist a spokesperson. If making a call is too intimidating, ask the person who has given you the contact name to make a call first to prepare them to expect your call. 
    7. In groups, start with the person who looks uncomfortable and approach them. After you "get your feet wet," you can talk to others you would like to meet. 
    8. Rehearse! It is perfectly o.k. to rehearse your side of the conversation before you make a networking phone call. You can even use a written script as long as it doesn't sound like you are reading it. Also decide what you will say if you need to leave a voice mail message. 
    9. Start with a letter. Sending a letter of introduction first can make a follow-up phone call less nerve wracking. 
    10. Be yourself! People respond best to a sincere and genuine approach. Be yourself, but be your best self.

/ Center for Career & Professional Development

The Center for Career & Professional Development is located on the corner of Grove and Home streets near the center of campus behind "The Rock."

Office Hours
M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Walk-In Hours
M-F: 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Contact
Ryan Brechbill, Director
e/ rbrechbill@otterbein.edu

Ashley Strausser, Associate Director/Internship Coordinator
e/ astrausser@otterbein.edu

Sara Schumacher, Admin. Assistant
e/ sschumacher@otterbein.edu
p/ 614.823.1456
f/ 614.823.3052

Mail
Center for Career & Professional Development
1 South Grove Street
Westerville, OH 43081

 

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