The main purpose of the Career Fair is to interact or engage in informal communication with other people with similar interests or concerns for mutual assistance & support both professionally and personally. Some benefits of networking are:
- Helps you focus your choice of major or career direction.
- Gives you advice about your job search.
- Validate your choice of career.
- Refine your interviewing skills.
- Uncover information about a specific employer or job.
The SBSLC Career Fair would be a great opportunity to engage in networking. Here are a few steps to help you get started:
- Develop a list of potential contacts that relate to your career search.
- Decide what your purpose would be in contacting your network.
- Carefully review what you have to offer and what you are seeking.
- Practice introductions of yourself that you will use in meeting your networking contacts.
- Keep a network log that contains contact information and any pertinent information received from that contact.
Networking is not only for those job-seekers who know a lot of people and are incredibly well-connected to influential types. As a student, you may feel that your list of contacts is too small to be of any use to you, but you will be surprised by how many people you do know once you begin developing your contact list. And don’t dismay if none of your family members are CEO’s. Surprisingly, it is likely that your strongest contacts will be those you do not know well. This phenomenon is called “the strength of weak ties” and it has been studied by numerous sociologists. In their studies, they found that acquaintances are more likely than family or friends to give individuals direct information or to recommend them for opportunities.
Networking is not only for outgoing extroverts. It is natural to feel somewhat shy about approaching others for advice and you may want to begin your initial efforts with people that you know well. You may also want to find a networking style that is comfortable for you, such as writing instead of calling to schedule meetings, and asking a close contact to ease the introduction to a stranger by calling in advance to tell them of your interest.
Networking is not bothering people who are unwilling to help you. Most of us love to talk about our jobs and what we do, and we are flattered when someone asks for our advice. In fact, letting other people do a favor for you creates greater loyalty than your doing a favor for them. Further, asking them for their help can invest them in you and your future success.
Networking is not asking for a job. The purpose of networking is to gather information to assist you in planning your career and in looking for a job. It is not asking someone for a job. When you ask someone for a job, there are only two possible responses; ‘yes, I have a job opening’, or, more likely, ‘no, I do not have a job opening now’. This ends your conversation with someone who could have potentially provided you with valuable information.