Networking is an important career development skill that is worth developing. In its simplest form, networking involves having a “career conversation” with someone for the purpose of exploring careers or job searching to help you answer important career-related questions.
When utilized appropriately, networking with your contacts can help you to:
Explore careers and jobs - Talk to professionals in an informational interview, through which you can gather information about a job, career field, industry, or workplace so you can determine its "fit" for you.
Find a job - When you are actively looking for jobs, use networking to market yourself. By talking to people about your qualifications, as well as your positions and employers of interest, you may hear of job leads and other resources that you wouldn't find elsewhere.
Where do you find people to network with? All around you! Because networking involves simply sharing information about careers and jobs, you can network with other students, family friends, professors, supervisors, and professionals you meet at career fairs or other events. You can also use LinkedIn, the online professional networking website, to find professionals in your areas of interest.
Recent surveys of employers indicate that over 50% of all open positions are filled through networking! So begin to develop your networking skills - you will gain a valuable tool that will serve you throughout your career life.