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Networking

Why network?

Personal contacts or networking are consistently the largest single source of accepted jobs for UTSA graduates.

We ask each academic year's grads; 35% to 48% of grads got their jobs through networking and referrals.

Read any article about the job search.  You'll consistently hear about 'the hidden job market' and 'unadvertised jobs.' People find these jobs by networking.

Technology is great, but it will never replace the personal touch. Before you get hired, people need to get to know you. Networking is a way of getting to know people, and getting people to know you — and to like you if you do it right.

What is it?

Networking is a little different from directly applying for jobs — but it can lead to one. Networking is simply talking to people — everyone from your professors to your neighbors to your friend's sister to your customer at the place where you work. Everyone you talk to may potentially suggest another person who might help you, and your circle of contacts grows.

Students in your major or a similar major who are a year or more ahead of you, or have graduated are an excellent source for information. Student organizations related to your major or career interest are a good source for meeting students who are ahead of you. Most people who network don't call it networking — they just call it talking to people.

Keep an open mind. You never know what and who may connect you to a job lead until you get there.

What are the rules?

Don't ask flat out for a job. Ask for help and advice.

  • Have good manners and good interpersonal skills. If you're contacting someone who doesn't know you, introduce yourself succinctly. Tell the person how, where or from whom you got her name and why you are contacting her. Think about your reaction to getting a call from a stranger and what you would want to know.
  • Be positive. Even if job searching is getting you down, don't let it show. No one wants to hire (or recommend) someone who has a gloomy attitude. On the other hand, enthusiasm and positive attitude are infectious.
  • Be articulate. Tell what you know about the career field you're pursuing, and ask intelligent questions to learn what you don't know.
  • Be yourself — your best, aspiring-to-be-a-professional self.
  • Good manners and appropriate conduct will help you build allies.
  • Thank everyone who helps you and keep people posted on your progress. Write thank-you letters to people who take time to talk with you.
  • Leave a good impression — someone might remember you in a few weeks when she hears about a job (internship, co-op, whatever) that you'd like.

External Resources

  • Business Networking International - BNI is the largestbusiness networking organization in the world.They offer members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and most importantly, business referrals.
  • San Antonio Networking Calendar - Guide to some of the networking opportunities available in San Antonio. Provides meeting dates for various professional associations.
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