In today’s job market, who you know is as important as what you know, so you need a network in your field(s) of interest. Your network is the broad set of professionals to whom you are connected, including people who recognize and can communicate your strengths, skills and interests.
Why do I need a network?
Up to 80% of jobs are filled through network connections, and 75% of job openings are never even advertised. Networking can be your single most effective tool for job and internship search success.
Benefits of networking include:
- Increased insight into a career field, organization, or specific job
- Awareness of available internship and summer job opportunities
- Better understanding of your interests and needs
- Greater confidence in job and internship interview situations
- Helpful contacts in your field of interest
How do I network with alumni and other professionals?
Most networking begins through casual conversation. Every time you meet a new person, you are networking. You never know who may have a family member, colleague or acquaintance in your field. And you never know who might become a trusted advisor or mentor.
K alumni are typically very open to helping you build your network, provided you approach them in a professional manner.
Face to Face
You can build your network of alumni by attending events hosted by the CCPD. Networking receptions throughout the year (both on and off campus), as well as the CCPD’s occasional Passions to Professions events, offer you the opportunity to meet K alumni and practice introducing yourself, sharing your career aspirations, and having a conversation with a friendly professional.
“It was helpful to have practice networking with alumni because you knew you had something in common to talk about so it felt more comfortable. You could get the feel of what it’s like to network and prepare to talk to people you don’t have a common experience with.”
~ Psychology major ‘15
“I was able to spend spring break with alumni and build a genuine connection with them because of a conversation we had at an alumni connection reception.”
~ English major ‘15
“I got an internship through an alumni connection from a networking event.”
~ Biology major ‘15
One way to build your network is by using LinkedIn, an incredible resource for both career exploration and the job search. Start by viewing profiles of professionals who have similar interests using LinkedIn’s search features. LinkedIn for Students is your best place for up to date information on utilizing LinkedIn and its various features. We do not recommend students pay to use LinkedIn’s premium services.
Another great way to build your network is to join Wisr, the Kalamazoo College Career Mentoring Network. Alumni you’ll find through Wisr are eager to offer career advice through one-on-one advisory sessions using the platform’s call bridge.
Although contacting alumni may seem daunting, be assured that most are pleased to be able to offer their knowledge and advice, especially if you are respectful and professional in your initial outreach.
“Alumni helped me realize possibilities for my future and connect me with others who worked in fields I was interested in.”
~ Art major ‘15
“I have connected with various alumni via LinkedIn who have helped me with career information and job prospects.”
~ Psychology major ‘15