Just hearing that word might bring tears to your eyes or send a shiver down your spine – but we are here to tell you networking should’t be that hard! Although you might picture large banquet halls with people in nice suits, exchanging business cards, networking is really just getting to know your contacts better and getting to know their contacts! Networking isn't about collecting business cards from strangers, it's about building strong relationships with those who can help you professionally.
Do you have an uncle who works in sales for a large corporation? Or a family friend who runs a non-profit? They are part of your network! Sit down with someone you know and ask questions about what their job really entails. What does their average day look like? What do they find most challenging? Doing this is is what we could call an informational interview. Learn more about informational interviews on pages 4 and 5 of the Career Guide. You can also do informational interviews with Xavier alumni. Talk to your faculty to see if they can connect you with a recent alumnus or visit LinkedIn Alumni page.
When you network, not only do you get a better idea of your career direction and aspirations, but you also build a relationship with professionals who might be able to vouch for you at their company in the future. When you meet someone new, you can ask for introductions to their contacts, which will only make your network bigger. Joining the Professional Mentor Program is a great place to start. In this program, you are matched with a mentor who can help you better understand your field and build your network.
Visit a career coach during drop-in hours to talk more about building a network that can work for you!