Networking is an essential part of starting your career

LinkedIn makes easy it to connect with others and for employers to learn about you

Katie Leibel
Staff Writer

Networking, one of the best ways to land a job, is something that many have a hard time with.

A LinkedIn survey discovered that about 85 percent of jobs are found through networking and the connections people make on a day-to-day basis. There are many tools that can be used to meet new people and find a job, but many do not know where to find them or what they are.

Networking is meeting new people and finding a job through the connections one makes with future employers, past employers, colleagues, and those that work in the same field. Developing one’s network can be hard at first, but is important as many jobs are not posted online. In order to find a job, making connections with those you meet can greatly influence your chances of gaining experience.

“Networking is a great way to get your name out there,” said Britney Hayes of the Career Development Center (CDC) at MSU. “It might be scary but just be confident and practice networking before you embark on it.”

One of the easiest ways to start networking with people is to create a LinkedIn account.

“LinkedIn is a very good way to connect with alumni and professionals in the field that you may work with,” Hayes added. “After meeting with someone you can offer to connect with people on LinkedIn and it is a great way for employers to find you and showcase your experience and achievements with this field.”

LinkedIn makes it easy to post about professional achievements, make your intentions known and clear, and to connect with people with similar interests to yourself. The majority of employers look for future employees on LinkedIn to learn more about who they are hiring. LinkedIn also allows its users to post email addresses, websites, portfolios and more. LinkedIn is comparable to an electronic business card with more information than a small piece of paper can provide at the touch of a button.

That being said, business cards are not out of style. As a matter of fact, many connections are made through business cards, handing them out, and allowing those that you want to connect with have an easy way to remember your name.

“Business cards are a great way to allow people to follow up with you about an opportunity that is available,” Hayes added.

While owning a set of business cards is great, it is important to make connections and hand them out. This can be a crucial step when it comes to networking. A great way for students to network is to stop in to the CDC and see when different companies and internship fairs are coming to MSU.

Many different businesses come in looking for interns of all majors. When attending a business, internship, or job fair, it is important to dress to impress, as first impressions can be crucial when it comes to making connections.

When making connections, Hayes advised practicing networking beforehand with friends and professors, or creating an elevator speech. An elevator speech is coming up with a thirty to sixty second speech about oneself, experience, education and what makes you a great asset. These tools can set oneself apart from the competition and help make a good impression.

Ultimately, networking can be one of the most important parts of finding a job. Who a person knows is what can help that individual to land a job which makes it important to get oneself out there. When it comes to meeting new people, college is the best place to do so. Joining clubs, practicing networking speeches, and branching out can help one make new connections and create a great network to build off of in the future.

Gabe Hewitt

Gabe is a junior mass media student at MSU. He's usually up for anything. You can find him on Twitter (@gabehewitt) or you can email him at gabriel.hewitt@mnsu.edu.

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