Networking for All Seasons With graduation and the end of the semester right around the corner, many Penn students are headed out to their first full-time career, a summer internship or research experience, or time abroad. Whether you will be returning to Penn in the fall to continue your academic work, or will be pursuing your interests in the world of work or academics, networking should be an important goal in the coming months.
Many think that networking is reserved for those in search of a job or internship, but truly, the best time to network is when you are NOT on the job market. Making and developing connections when you do not need to utilize them imminently is a great way to make contact with others in a more relaxed environment. Here are some tips on how to network during the upcoming summer, no matter where your travels take you.
Reconnect with old friends. If you will find yourself in your hometown, this is a great time to look up old friends and check in to see what they are up to. Chances are some of them are studying something interesting to you, and they may have a job or summer internship that you find interesting. Ask questions. Be inquisitive. Maybe they have learned something through their studies or job search that could be useful to you, too.
Try something new. If you will find yourself in a new city either temporarily or permanently, try an activity new to you. If you like to play sports, join a local intramural team. Like to read? Check out the local library for book clubs or lecture series. Now is the time to take yourself out of your comfort zone and meet new people. You never know how personal connections can turn into professional contacts later.
Seek out mentors, but also be a mentor. It’s easy to look for a mentor who is at the top of your organizational chart. Look instead for peers who are slightly ahead of you. Ask them to coffee to pick their brains about the ins and outs of your organization and/or your new city. What have they learned that would be valuable to you? At the same token, look for others to whom can offer assistance. If you are not in a new city, offer to show newcomers around.
Record keeping. Now is the time to keep track of whom you meet and where. This could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet, or you can utilize one of the many apps out there to assist you in managing your networking contacts. Keep LinkedIn updated. Make sure to update your profile with where you are working, what you are doing, and what skills you are acquiring.
No matter where your life takes you at the end of this semester, remember Penn’s Career Services is always here to help you. We offer services to alumni for life!