Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants include students, instructors, advisors, counselors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers.
Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? As we get closer to the holidays we anticipate a nice break, but it’s also a great time to think about how you might approach family and work events, as well as community service and volunteer activities, with an eye for opportunities to build professional relationships. You never know what connections you’ll make!
This week, in recognition of National Career Development Day, we asked:
How can students and job seekers build their professional networks, even during the holidays?
- Keep it informal, especially during holiday events. Be ready to introduce yourself and join conversations when the opportunities arise.
- “Think of networking as a series of conversations and take them one at a time, building relationships as you go … no need to get everything done at the first introduction.”
- Be yourself. “Informal networking usually leads to more success with finding a job. The organic conversation is different than forced business talk.”
- Don’t be nervous. “The worst thing that can happen is that you learn something new or meet somebody interesting!”
- It’s not always about meeting new people. What about your friends and family? Do they know about your career interests and plans for the future?
- Reach out to your school’s alumni association. Whether you are a current student or have already graduated, you’ll find support and encouragement from past graduates who are “… eager to help people from their college.” Let them know what you are looking for (i.e., advice, information, contacts, leads) and thank them for their time.
- Consider the possible benefits of networking before asking about jobs: find common ground or shared interests, break the ice with discussions that don’t involve careers and employment. “Hopefully that person is impressed with you and brings up career talk first.”
- Consider the possible benefits of networking beyond asking about jobs: find out about current trends in your field, establish new professional relationships that may be helpful in the future.
- Understand that it’s an ongoing effort. You never know where a new connection may lead.
- Career networking works both ways – help a friend or colleague expand his or her professional connections.
For more from the most recent live session, review the chat feed below. Our past chats can be found on the archives page.
This week’s read-aheads:
Career Networking – Beyond Network – Can Start at Home Over the Turkey from Marcia Cantarella, HowToLearn.com
Give Yourself a Gift for the Holidays … an Internship! From Mark Babbitt, The Savvy Intern
This week’s chat feed:
Image credit: several_bees, Flickr, CC:BY-NC