Networking is one of the most valuable career development skills you can have, especially since an estimated 80 percent of all jobs are filled through networking — and many open positions are not advertised. So it is well worth your time to develop a wide-ranging network of professional contacts. Your contacts can help you explore your calling, get leads on jobs and internships, and get hired. Don’t underestimate the importance of a strong network!
Ways to Build a Strong Network
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 300 million members across the globe. Build a professional online presence, and make connections with people who work in your field or can connect you to those who do. There are many search tools that can put you in touch with alumni from SPU, leaders in your professional area, and people who work for employers of interest. Learn more.
Informational interviews are one of the most effective ways to make connections with professionals in your areas of interest. You can learn about specific jobs and the education, skills, and experiences you’ll need to be successful in them.
You can also learn about employers of interest through the experiences of those who currently work for them. In many cases, informational interviews can help with choice of college major and/or lead to job and internship opportunities. Learn more.
Find a Mentor
While preparing for today’s complex and changing workplace, having a mentor can be a valuable experience. Visit SPULink to connect with alumni and other professionals who are interested in helping you succeed (once you’ve logged in, choose “Mentor Search” in the top bar). Here are some options:
- Informational interview (meet with a professional you admire to hear his or her career story)
- Job shadow (observe a day in the work life of a professional in a job that interests you)
- Mentorship (meet with a professional 3–4 times over the course of several months to gain information and advice)
For a more customized, curated mentor experience, check out the SPU Mentor Program offered by the Center for Applied Learning.
Career fairs, both on and off campus, provide a wealth of opportunities for networking and gaining new contacts. Learn how to prepare for and make the most of job fairs.
Other Networking Resources
Networking Events in Seattle
The Seattle Networking Guide offers information on professional associations and events. Connecting with professionals in your area of interest offers insights on careers and employers.
Professional Associations and Societies
Join professional organizations associated with the industries, professions, or groups that interest you in order to connect with people who have similar interests.
Networking Your Way to a New Job
Article on networking with follow-up links to additional resources.
Approximately 80 percent of jobs are found through networking — and this article offers tips on informal and formal ways to use networking to find a job.
Creating Your Personal Brand (PDF)
PricewaterhouseCoopers offers tips and exercises to help you develop your elevator pitch, build and maximize professional relationships, manage your online presence, and more.