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Are your students networking for internships and jobs?  They are probably on Facebook and Twitter, maybe have a Linkedin profile (good idea by the 1st year of college), and probably applying for jobs and internships online.  That’s networking, right?  Yes, but are they doing any face-to-face networking?  So maybe they are meeting with classmates and friends on campus.  That’s networking, right?  Yes, but are they networking with any groups from the same college or major, or similar interests or projects, or their target companies or industries?  That’s real networking.

As part of a Career Advisors coaching job seekers for over 5 years, we have learned that over 75-80% of new hires come from jobs found by direct networking, and 10-15% of hires come from online job postings (Craigslist, Indeed.com, other job boards).  This means that the best ways to find jobs is from referrals, word of mouth, Linkedin connections, and professional and community events.  And this trend is continuing.  So now you’re thinking that some of your students are shy, and not comfortable with large groups or starting a conversation.  But guess what?  They are already networking with you, their classmates, other faculty, friends and family, their community and employers.  Here are three great ways for your students to really network:

Internship and Job Fairs: Most colleges and universities host internship and job fairs in Fall and Spring, and invite employers from all industries to advertise their open positions, talk with students and even set up interviews on the spot,  Also, many high schools have Career Day events and invite employers to talk about their job opportunities.

Alumni Associations:  Joining College Alumni (even High School alumni) groups are a great way to stay connected with classmates and staff, make new contacts, learn about upcoming events and Meetups, and even hear about internships and jobs that are not posted online.

Volunteering:  Community service is a great way to not only give back to others, but to network, share skills, interests and energy, and even find internships or jobs within nonprofit organizations.

If any of you have any other networking ideas or advice, please share.  I’m Judi Garcia – Career Advisor, Instructor in Career Planning and a very enthusiastic WACAC member, and of course, networker.  Thanks for reading my first monthly blog and for joining the conversation!!  See you in November!  In the meantime, you can find me on LinkedIn.

By Judi Garcia