One of this week’s sessions was on networking profiles and what to do with them once you have one set up. This event was hosted by Megan Schedlt from the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career as well as Kelly Wolters ‘19 and current Digital Marketing Specialist at Herman Miller.
The three networking sites discussed during the session were LinkedIn, Handshake, and The Hope College Connection. LinkedIn at the individual level can help with job search and connections for professional networking. For companies LinkedIn is useful for recruiting and sharing information about their company with prospective employees. If you look up Hope College on LinkedIn you can find people all throughout the nation and connect or message with them in order to create connections. Handshake can be used for job, internship, and volunteer searches, but also for networking. Employers use it for career events and looking for future employees. The Hope College Connection is specifically for Hope students and alumni. Students can connect with alumni or parents of Hope students and find mentorship opportunities as well as connections.
Why network? Networking can help you to gain access to a lot of opportunities that can benefit you. It can also help you learn from real professionals about experience in your desired field of work. Lastly, it helps build your confidence by putting yourself out there to meet people and make lasting connections.
Informational interviews are the first step to creating connections and expanding your network. To get this interview you should reach out by emailing or messaging them. Introduce yourself, clearly ask for what you are looking for, put something interesting to hook them into wanting to meet you, and follow up as well as be considerate to them. Give them a week or so to respond and if they haven’t responded by then you can reach out again to ask, but as before be gracious! Once you have an interview you should do basic research so you know about their company and field and come prepared with questions. Lastly, cement the connection. Follow up and thank them for their time and help, you can ask if they would mentor you or just ask them if you can stay connected in the future.