Networking Strategies and Resources

You've probably heard it before—networking is key to your success on the job market. But how do you start? Many people feel anxious or overwhelmed at the thought of networking. Never fear, the UCSC Career Center is here for you. Take a look through our Strategies and Resources below for inspiration and advice to begin building your personal and professional network. 

 

Networking Strategies

Overview: 

  1. Conduct Informational Interviews
  2. Evaluate Your Online Presence
  3. Join Relevant Organizations
  4. Attend Networking Events
  5. Attend a Conference or Workshop
  6. Volunteer at a Relevant Organization
  7. Say "Yes" To Invitations
  8. Evaluate Your Current Network
  9. Practice
  10. Show Interest in Others
  11. Follow-Up
  12. Be Patient

 

1. Conduct Informational Interviews 

  • Informational interviews are a key tool for job seekers and graduate students thinking about jobs beyond the academy.
  • See our Informational Interview page for information about the best way to conduct an informational interview.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

2. Evaluate Your Online Presence
  • Are you on LinkedIn? What does your Twitter profile and handle say about you? Joining and maintaining a cohesive and thorough online presence can help you network with other job seekers, find out about jobs, and stay up-to-date on conversations in your field.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

3. Join Relevant Organizations
  • Joining professional associations or student groups helps you connect with others who are interested in the same field as you. By connecting with others with similar interest you can learn more about your field and gain useful contacts for future job or internship opportunities.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

4. Attend Networking Events
  • Unsure of where to start with networking? Attending a networking event can be a fun and low pressure way to meet new people.
  • Not sure where to find a networking event? Check out networking events on campus or visit Eventbrite.com to see if there are any events in your field coming up.
  • Check to see if UCSC has any alumni networking events coming up. Likewise, see if your undergraduate institution or high school alma mater has any networking events coming up.
  • Before you go, do some research about who might be there and who is hosting the event. Networking events are great opportunities to interact directly with recruiters and hiring managers so you’ll want to be prepared.
  • When you do go, bring business cards so that you’ll have some ready in case someone asks you for one, have your pitch about who you are, and what you’re looking for ready.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

5. Attend a Conference or Workshop
  • Conferences and workshops are great ways to meet new individuals and gain potential employment contacts.
  • Attending a conference or workshop is also a great way to stay up-to-date with current industry trends and conversations.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

6. Volunteer at a Relevant Organization
  • Interested in a specific field but not sure where to begin or how to make contacts? If possible, consider volunteering for them.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

7. Say “Yes” to Invitations.
  • By actively engaging in circles of friends or professionals, you can gain more access to new people and new contacts.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

8. Evaluate Your Current Network
  • Is there anyone in your past or present that could help you make an introduction to someone you’d like to meet?
  • Use our Building and Evaluating Your Network Worksheet to help you determine how you are supported and where you can grow.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

9. Practice
  • Networking can be nerve wracking. If you’re planning on going to a networking event, ask a friend or trusted colleague to practice with you so that you can prepare to introduce yourself and having a new conversation.
  • Before you go to an event, it can be helpful to give yourself a goal. For instance, do you want to have conversations with a certain number of people? 
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

10. Show Interest in Others
  • Remember—networking is simply the process of meeting people and having conversations. If you want to make a good impression, then be a good conversationalist: show interest in others, ask questions, be warm and friendly. Networking is about building a relationship; it’s about both parties involved, not just your interests and wants.
  • Try not to hijack the conversation by delivering a sales pitch or by hijacking the conversation to make it all about yourself. Networking is building a web of connections and contacts, not self-promotion.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

11. Follow-Up

  • If you’ve made a connection at an event, ask for the best way to stay in touch.
  • After you’ve gone to an event and made a connection, make sure to follow-up with that person via the method they suggested was the best way for them within 48 hours after the event.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

12. Be Patient

  • Networking should be seen as a continual process that you will build and utilize throughout your career. Don’t feel frustrated if after a few events you feel you haven’t made any connections; keep at it and your connections will grow with time.
  • Click here to see more Networking Strategies. 

 

Resources

Networking for Graduate Students

  • This link provides a listing of UCSC departments and links to department pages wherein you can see alumni placement and activities.

Career Advice Network

  • The Career Advice Network is a database of hundreds of alumni who have volunteered to be advisors for students and recent graduates. Alumni advisors create a professional profile, which can be set-up in under five minutes by importing your LinkedIn profile, and become a part of a live, searchable database, accessible to students and recent graduates who have signed up as advisees.

Versatile PhD

  • Versatile PhD is an online community specifically for individuals with PhDs who are hoping to transition outside of academia. Subscribers can explore career paths, talk to other members of the community, see job listings specifically for PhD holders, network with other members, and attend local meet-ups.
  • Subscribers can also see the profiles process of successful PhD holders who transitioned beyond academia (you can see the job listing they applied for, their cover letter, resume, etc.). For community, inspiration, and content, Versatile PhD is a valuable resource.
  • The Career Center subscribes to this resource to help inform graduate students about job searching realities. Graduate student alumni gain FREE Premium Contact Access by contacting Chris Arends at carends@ucsc.edu.

LinkedIn

  • LinkedIn is an online platform that allows you to build a profile and connect with other job seekers, and recruiters. It is a great tool for professional networking.

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Do you want to confidentially brainstorm with someone about how to network? Make an appointment with one of our Career Coaches today!