Begin networking today!

Social network

Networking is the act of building relationships and partnerships with business professionals that are capable and interested in helping you further your career goals.

Believe it or not it is never too early in your college career to begin networking and the earlier you begin making connections, the better.

In an article for immigration and education reform advocacy website FWD.us, contributor, Joshua Rodriguez, wrote about struggling in his classes and having a hard time finding an internship the summer after his freshman year of college.

He writes, “Never in my life had I gotten C’s before, and it was difficult to understand why I was struggling in college.” Going into his sophomore year, he realized that he had to take a different approach to his studies and job search. He states this hard truth in the article:

“College shifts the responsibility of education from the teacher and institution to the student. You are in charge of educating yourself and making sure that you are getting what you need”.

The fact of the matter is that whether or not you need assistance in your job search or your classes, this is assistance that you’ll need to seek out yourself.

Who can you include in your network?

  • Past employers
  • Past and current professors and high school teachers
  • Family friends

You can begin forming these connections by asking yourself this question: What do I aim to achieve through my network?

According to Rodriguez, if you’re looking for assistance in your college courses, then your goal might be to build professional relationships with your professors that enable you to feel comfortable asking for their help.

If you’re looking to acquire an internship over the summer, your goal might be to build professional relationships with people that can serve as a reference for a job application.

However, don’t limit your network to people in your immediate social circle. Emily Bennington, owner of Professional Studio 365, an organization that helps students transition into careers post-graduation, suggests, “checking out conferences in your field or your local Chamber of Commerce.”

Don’t be afraid to go out and seek mentors! Start making connections today! Contact your professors or visit the USF Career Success Center for help researching job and internship options.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References

Grant, A. (2011, 28 September 2011). 6 ways to network while you’re in college. U.S. News & World Report

Rodriguez, J. (5 April, 2015). Your network is your net worth: Using your network to succeed in college. Retrieved from http://www.imfirst.org/2015/04/networking-in-college/

Can I have a moment of your time?

Businesspeople in the office

At some point in your professional life you’ll have to give an elevator speech. Elevator speeches are roughly 30 seconds long and explain to a potential employer why you’re the right person for the job. The speech is essentially your personal mission statement.

While employers want to make sure you are properly qualified for the position, they do not have the time to listen to a detailed and drawn out description of your job background.

So, it is important that your message is clear and concise. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Define the purpose of your elevator speech: Obviously, the main purpose of an elevator speech is always to land the job. However, in order to do that, you must know what the job requires and how your qualifications and career goals fit the job description.

2. Briefly explain your current job position and previous industry-related work experience and success:

This helps to show that you have drawn comparisons between previous skills that industry-related work has required of you and how those skills relate to the position you’re applying for. It also confirms to a hiring manager that you have the necessary amount of experience for the position.

3Keep your audience in mind: Choose every word carefully. Stay away from industry-jargon that would confuse anyone, even a company CEO. Also remember, that the most important thing piece of information an employer wants to know about you is how you can benefit their company.

4. Practice: While you are trying to initiate a genuine dialogue with a potential employer you’re still essentially making a sales speech. You want to exude confidence and ensure at the end of the speech a potential employer has learned everything that you want them to know about you.

 

Remember, the elevator speech is a window that can open to a more in-depth conversation regarding your job strengths and weaknesses. So, simplify now and elaborate later.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Collamer, N. (4 February 2013). The perfect elevator pitch to land a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/02/04/the-perfect-elevator-pitch-to-land-a-job/#4073e3e01b1d

Doyle, A. (13 April 2017). Elevator speech examples and writing tips. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/elevator-speech-examples-and-writing-tips-2061976