Anyone can network effectively... all it takes is preparation, a modest investment of time, and enthusiasm. As an Aggie you are already a step ahead of other college students because you are a member of one of the world's largest and most effective networks - The Aggie Network!
Networking allows you to focus your choice of major or career direction. Get the inside story from those who are actually working in the industry and obtain advice about your job search. Speaking with those in your career field can help you develop strategies for learning about job openings. Already have a specific career in mind? Validate your choice and confirm whether or not your chosen major is right for you through networking. You will often uncover information about a specific employer or job - websites can only give so much information. Go behind the scenes and learn about an organization's culture and expectations.
Watch this quick video to learn more about effective networking!
Develop a list of potential contacts. These can be fellow classmates, former students, parents and other family members, parents of classmates, professors, advsiors, current and former employers, Career Fair representatives, members of professional associations and event your Career Advisor!
Decide what your purpose will be in contacting your network and develop your list of questions. If you are in the early stage of career planning, then you may be exploring major career directions. If you are in the latter stage, your purose is to obtain information on how to conduct your job search and obtain job leads.
Carefully review what you have to offer and what you are seeking. Knowing yourself better will enable you to speak easily and with more self-assurance to your contacts. Examine your achievements, professional and personal interests, and important values.
Practice introductions of yourself that you will use in meeting your network contacts. A longer introduction (1-2 minutes) works well during a meeting with a networking contact.
Identify networking resources and venues. The Association of Former Students offers various A&M Clubs, events such as tailgates, and Find An Aggie. The Career Center also has a number of resources online, including CareerShift, that can help you identify potentially valuable contacts.
Conducting informational interviews can help you gain information about specific career paths as well as broaden your professional network.
How did you get to where you are today?
What skils are needed in your profession?
If you were starting your career today, what would you do differently?
What can I do to make myself marketable for this career?
What advice do you have for someone like me?
After identifying a networking contact, send an email (to an individual only - no group mailings) or call the person to let them know the purpose of your communication. DO NOT send them your resume at this point!
Dear Mr./Ms. Aggie Contact,
My name is Jane Aggie. I am a student at Texas A&M, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in ALED in May 20xx. I found your contact information in the Aggie Network online directory. I am considering pursuing a career in (insert your area of interest here) and am interested in learning more about the career opportunities and needs within the ______ industry.
Would you have a moment to share advice and insight regarding your organization and the ______ industry? Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time.