Anyone who wants to succeed in the business world would not underestimate the importance of networking. However, some questions seem to weigh us down: where do I seek out networking opportunities? Which events should I go to? What should I talk about at networking events to make a good impression? The list goes on and on. We are scared even before we start.
As a young professional myself nine months into my job, my answer to all the questions is:
Start networking by connecting with your alumni.
Two reasons why I think it’s beneficial and effective to connect with your alumni first:
Easier to connect. It’s easier to talk and connect with the alumni, because you’ve already shared something in common – you went to the same school and maybe have taken a class with the same professor!
Alumni are more willing to help you out. Chances are alumni are more willing to help you. When I was job hunting last year, I emailed a couple of people to set up informational interviews. Almost every alumnus that I reached out to responded and agreed to talk to me, while few other people emailed me back. Alumni network is a great way to help you build up your network and identify like-minded individuals.
Fortunately, as a proud graduate from the communication program from Villanova University, I would often receive invitations to attend networking events organized by Villanova Communication Alumni Network (VCAN).
The VCAN is an exciting alumni program designed to connect VU graduates working in all areas of communication, including advertising, radio, TV, film, graphic arts, journalism, marketing, media, academia, public relations, and more, with other alumni.
On April 2, I went to VCAN’s Spring Networking Reception in Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Philly. Our professors from the communication graduate programs also made appearances. Noticeably, the NBC10 News Anchor, Keith Jones ’07, came to the event and talked about his journey from Villanova Communication to the anchor desk in one of the top media markets in the US. The night was marked by good company and great conversations.
Apart from the wonderful events made possible by VCAN, Villanova graduates can also take advantage of NovaNetwork – a platform exclusive to VU alumni to find your college friends and make new connections with the Nova Network. You can communicate and interact with other alumni on-line, real-time.
Go to your school’s career center websites where you most likely will find alumni events. Attend them and start networking your way up the corporate ladder!
How do you start your networking? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!