DePaul University Career Center's Blog

To Network or Not To Network?

By: Ira Deshmukh, Career Community Ambassador

Tired of hearing the “you should network more” advice from everyone? Worry not, we’ve got a small curation of three easily applicable tips and tricks you can use to, like they all say, network more.  

But what is networking and why is it important? 

Networking is essentially the act of building professional connections and relationships, and the exchange of helpful information, advice and contacts with said network. It’s imperative to network. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of professional networks in terms of increased employment and business prospects, deeper and broader knowledge, increased ability to innovate, quicker progression, and increased status and authority. The quality of the work is also improved, and job satisfaction is increased through fostering professional connections.

Where and how should you network?

University Networks and Personal Invitations

When using LinkedIn, one of the easiest ways to network successfully is reaching out to students, alumni, staff and faculty members from the university you attend. Personalize your invites by mentioning some commonalities from both of your profiles such as similar majors, departments or even if you took the same class. Always personalize invites to stand out, regardless of who you may be reaching out to on LinkedIn.

You can also join the Alumni Sharing Knowledge Network to connect with DePaul alumni and other students who are great resources for building a network in your industry.

Networking at events

Networking in itself is daunting, but doing it at in-person events can be more intimidating. However, it is not impossible with the right strategy. You may request one of your co-workers to attend the event with you and approach people at the event together. Additionally, have a goal set for yourself for post-event follow-ups. This could include staying back at the event venue for at least an hour to interact with some of the speakers or other attendees and obtaining the contact information by the end of the event.

Following Up

Make sure to always get in touch with people you meet at events or one-on-one meetings. It will help you stand out, and it’s a small gesture that will help people remember you positively. Send an email or a text to express your gratitude for the connection and to let them know you’ll be in touch again in the future. Establish the practice of following up within 24 to 48 hours of connecting, as many professionals usually advise. 

Book an appointment with Ira or another member of the advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431.

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