Networking is the process of building relationships. A professional network can help you gather information, find job leads (including those that aren’t widely advertised), and connect with the right people—including those who are making hiring decisions.
There are many ways to build your professional network:
- Talk to people you already know who are working in fields or industries related to your career interests, including professors or instructors in the College of Engineering and relatives, friends, or acquaintances who work in technical positions.
- Use LinkedIn to make professional contacts with people you already know and make new connections through your existing contacts. Keep your profile up-to-date.
- Arrange an informational interview with a professional in a career that you'd like to know more about.
- Attend Penn State career events, including career fairs, information sessions, and professional talks and presentations. These events give you access to recruiters, professionals in your field, alums, and other co-op and internship participants.
- Join a club or student organization related to your desired field. Many of the engineering student organizations have corporate sponsorship and invite industry contacts to give professional development presentations or company information sessions at general meetings.
Remember: Networking is an ongoing process! Maintain your professional network by staying in touch with your contacts periodically. Keep them abreast of your career search and any new developments. Also, be willing to help others network, both now and in the future.