Connecting with others is a powerful tool at any stage in your career--whether you're looking for a job, applying to graduate schools, searching for internships, or seeking information about careers. In these challenging economic times, talking to people who know something about your field of interest is especially important for locating jobs. Eighty percent of all jobs are found through career conversations.
Networking may sound intimidating, but you've done it before. Think about it. Did you speak with students and alums during your college search? Have you spoken with a family member or friend about your job search? If so, you've networked. For advice, including how to initiate contact and what questions to ask, read our handy guide [pdf] on informational interviewing. Remember to stay safe while networking, here are some safety tips.
Build Your Network
- Alumni Career Profiles A subset of Swatties who have provided detailed career biographies and useful information about breaking into their fields.
- Alumni Online Directory The full database of all 18,000 Swarthmore alumni, with contact information. Students are welcome to join the Online Alumni Community, where you can post your resume, join discussion groups, and search for contacts by career field, employer and location.
- Attend events at Swarthmore Career Services, the Alumni Center, the Lang Center, and many student organizations bring alumni to campus. Seize the opportunity to network.
- Business Cards VistaPrint.com offers 250 free business cards (shipping and processing not included).
- Facebook Renew contact with Swarthmore alumni and friends from the past. Just remember to keep your profile "clean" in case a potential employer visits.
- Gateway to Associations Directory Join a professional association; many have special rates for students. Use this directory to search for an association in your field of interest. Read this article on how to use associations to your advantage.
- Likemind Meet with fellow professionals over coffee. For more information, read this New York Times feature.
- LinkedIn On this online networking site, build a public resume, link to colleagues, and discover new contacts. Learn more about building a profile and using the site to network. Watch this video to see how LinkedIn can be an alumni tool for higher education.
Networking Sites for People of Color
- A Mighty River A networking site for Black professionals.
- Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) Recommended by blogger John Kobara, APEX provides mentorship programs and networking resources.
- Hispanic Professionals Network Like LinkedIn, you can create a profile for others to view
- Latino Professional Network Connects Latino professionals, employers, and college students.
Networking Sites for Women
Advice on Networking
- Career Services's Informational Interviewing Handout Includes a list of questions to ask and provides tips on maintaining contact.
- John Kobara's Blog This blogger discusses the mentoring and networking lifestyle.
- LinkedIn Profile Extreme Makeover A blogger describes how he jazzed up his LinkedIn profile.
- Mashable article HOW TO: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for the Job Hunt. The advice is useful for networking at any stage of profesional development.
- How to Clean Your Social Media Profile Helpful advice to build a professional social presence.