Networking

You’ve heard the expression “it’s all about who you know.” That expression absolutely has some truth to it. But the real truth is, it’s not who you know right now, it’s also who you set out to meet.

Networking is the important professional process of developing and maintaining relationships. Networking allows you to learn about people and their careers. It can also be incredibly valuable for landing a position with an organization you are interested in.

Why Network?

  • 80% of jobs are found through networking
  • Talking to people and listening to their experiences is one of the BEST ways to learn about different careers and options
  • It’s WAY more effective than job searching alone
  • You can learn a lot about what you want to do (or don’t want to do!)
  • A networking relationship built now will become stronger over time
  • Only 5 to 25 percent of jobs are advertised
  • Can help you with your current goal AND future goals
  • Your connections may recommend classes to take or experiences to get now (internships, part-time jobs, research opportunities, etc.)

Identify and Build a Network

Whether you know it or not, you already HAVE a network. The first step is identifying who you already know who can be of assistance. This list can include relatives, friends and neighbors; previous employers, teachers or volunteer supervisors; your fellow Stonehill students or your friend’s parents. The identification of who you know is an important first step.

The next step is building a network – and this step never ends. You’ll start this process now but will likely continue to develop connections for your entire professional career.

To get started building a network while a Stonehill College student you’ll use:

  • Professional Associations (example: the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Public Relations Society of America)
  • The Career Connection Mentor Database
  • LinkedIn
  • Career Services networking events (industry lunches, career or service fairs, employer/alumni panels)

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is “The world's largest professional network with 300+ million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe.” It’s undisputedly the most-used online networking tool by professionals in most industries. You want to have a presence on this site to begin to create your online professional persona as well as to assist you in networking. This site is where you will display your “online resume” as well as your connections, your recommendations and your professional interests.

Need to set up a LinkedIn account?

  1. Go to www.LinkedIn.com
  2. Enter information in the “Get started – it’s free” section and click “Join Now”
  3. Once you are logged in, click on the “Profile” tab on the top left hand corner, and then click “Edit Profile”

Creating Strong Profiles – 10 Steps

Just having a LinkedIn account is not enough; you’ve got to USE it! The first step is to create a strong profile so that when others are viewing your profile, they can learn as much about you, your accomplishments and your professional interests as possible.

  1. Upload a professional headshot.
  2. Edit headline (under your name) to indicate who you are and what you are looking for. Example: Candidate for summer actuarial internship.
  3. There is NO spell-check so be sure to proofread, a few times!
  4. Edit your location and industry to show your DESIRED location and DESIRED industry.
  5. Write a “Summary” statement that includes a brief intro to who you are, what your interests are, and where you’re hoping to land. Edit this section as needed (as ideas change!).
  6. In the “Experience” section, copy and paste the content from your (reviewed and approved by Career Services) resume and elaborate details.
  7. In the “Education” section, add Stonehill and your major/minor. Include your GPA if it is above a 3.0. Include all relevant academic information (honors, awards, research, study abroad, etc.)
  8. In “Additional Info” use caution! You may include your birthdate, but not the year. You should not include your marital status or any other personal information. Remember, this is not Facebook. It’s strictly professional. You don’t want to put anything out there that could potentially hurt you.
  9. Get recommended. Ask a few trusted contacts (former managers, professors, etc.) to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn and show them on your profile. In return, write recommendations for others.
  10. Join “Groups” and participate in industry-specific conversations around your field of interest. Start by joining the Stonehill networking groups (ex. Stonehill Students – Jobs & Internships). Groups are a great way to learn about exciting opportunities and to see what’s happening in the industry. Select groups that seem active and that demonstrate your professional interests.
  11. Follow reputable news sources, again demonstrating your professional interests.
  12. Follow organizations/companies that you are interested in to learn about what’s happening in their world, future opportunities, who you may know who works there, etc. Use this as a research tool!
  13. Check it frequently – don’t let messages go unanswered or your status become stale. Be an active participant!
  14. We can help you build your profile and maximize the tools that LinkedIn offers. Check out our "How-to Videos" on YouTube, and meet with a Career Advisor to critique your profile!

Adding Connections
Now that you’ve set up a strong professional online presence, it’s time to start making connections and building your network. This tool is incredibly powerful in that in can connect you with individuals doing almost anything virtually anywhere. But use caution! There are online professional etiquette norms that you need to be aware of. Follow the suggestions below.

Do

Don’t

Request to connect with colleagues, friends, family, professors, fellow students/alums, administrators, etc.

Request to connect with people who you have never met or spoken with before.

Include a brief personal and professional message in your invitation to connect. Do this for EVERY request.

Use the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” when sending an invitation to someone. Never.

Use the “Get introduced” feature found on everyone’s profile next to the “Send InMail” button as a drop-down menu next to the “Connect” button. This function allows you to reach out to 2nd degree connections, meaning you have a mutual friend.

Click “Connect” on anyone’s profile that you do not know personally.

Using LinkedIn for Different Purposes

LinkedIn can be used for two separate and important networking purposes: 1) Reaching out to contacts to learn about professions and their careers, helping you decide what direction you want to go in. 2) Reaching out to contacts who work for a particular organization you are interested in to have a better shot of landing an opportunity with that organization.

Networking for Learning

Networking for a Position

Search LinkedIn for an industry or a job title that interests you (examples: Nurse Practitioner, Investment Advisor, Museum Curator).

 

Search LinkedIn for an organization you are interested in (you found a position there or you just have a desire to work there).

View your “People” results by clicking “People” in left hand column.

 

View your “People” results by clicking “People” in left hand column.

Scroll through results looking for 1st degree connections or 2nd degree connections.

 

Scroll through results looking for 1st degree connections or 2nd degree connections.

If you find a 1st degree connection with a job in a field you are interested in – reach out directly! Ask for an informational interview. (See below for next steps).

If you find a 1st degree connection working at the organization (no matter WHAT they do there) – reach out directly! Ask for an informational interview. (See below for next steps).

 

If you find a 2nd degree connection you will reach out by using the “Get introduced”. Write a VERY PROFESSIONAL message to your connection asking for an introduction to the person you are trying to talk with. Then, ask for an informational interview. (See below for next steps).

If you find a 2nd degree connection working there, you will reach out by using the “Get introduced” feature, found on everyone’s profile under the “Send InMail” drop down menu, just under their picture. You will write a VERY PROFESSIONAL note to your connection asking for an introduction to the person you are trying to talk with. Then, ask for an informational interview. (See next page).

Still have questions?

Reach out to the Office of Career Services for assistance at careerservices@stonehill.edu.