Career Preparation: Networking Skills for Success
While you can’t get a degree in networking, it’s one of the most effective skills you can learn to increase your chances of post-graduation success. In fact, research shows that up to 70 percent of employees received their current company position through networking skills. As such, it’s never too early to start establishing and expanding your networks. Here’s how to begin.

Get to Know Your Professors

Your professor is an expert in their field and likely brings many years of experience in it outside the realm of teaching. Besides providing a wealth of information on the subject matter, they know people within related industries and can connect you with them. In fact, your professor can craft that all-important recommendation letter to help you get your foot in the door.

That’s why it’s important to get to know your professors beyond the classroom. The best way to connect with your professor is through office hours. Use this time to ask for school or career advice and share your goals. This will make it easier for them to provide the support you need to achieve them.

Attend Career Fairs

Career fairs offer tremendous opportunities to connect with people in a range of fields. Most people at these fairs are more than happy to discuss their jobs and how they got them. Plus, company recruiters and hiring managers often attend these events to discover potential candidates. Putting your face before them may make all the difference.

Introduce yourself to the recruiter or hiring manager and discuss your experience and goals in the field. Then ask them for advice in reaching those. After listening attentively and actively, grab their business card and connect with them a few business days later via LinkedIn or a thank you note. This may go a long way when they seek to hire new employees.

Azusa Pacific University hosts several career fairs and job networking events each year. Register for the APU Handshake career network to see when the next event will be.

Join a Club

Clubs aren’t just for hobbies. Many clubs are created to bring students with similar professional interests together. APU encourages a variety of student-led clubs and organizations, many of which meet two to four times per month. Some worthwhile clubs on campus that can help with career networking include:

  • Scholars for Business Achievement
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • Future Allied Health Leaders Association
  • Pre-Law Society
  • Club Social Work
  • Student Nurses of Azusa Pacific
  • National Society of Leadership and Success

All of these clubs help connect you to like-minded peers pursuing similar career paths. Some of these clubs also encourage members to volunteer together in their career field, which can be a wonderful way to help your community and gain experience to highlight on your resume.

Find a Mentor

A mentor can provide support and help you get your career moving. The best mentors are those who have the job you want or are on the career path you desire. Check out APU’s Alumni Engagement to connect with individuals in your field, or attend APU alumni events around Southern California. APU Homecoming offers yet another way to meet alumni in your field before you complete your degree.

Review Your Social Media

Considering the power of social media, it’s never too late to ensure you’re projecting a professional appearance on these platforms. Create a LinkedIn profile that features a clear headshot and demonstrates your education, experience, and career goals. Also, be thoughtful about what you post on social media, especially anything public, as it’s easy to put off potential employers. Use social media to stay connected to fellow classmates and peers, too, as they may be able to point you to a great job or give you a heads up when one becomes available at their company.

APU Makes Networking Easier

Networking is an essential part of your college and career experience. When you successfully use networking skills, you can make meaningful relationships with others in your industry that may lead you to your dream job. To start building your network and prepare for the next step in your career journey, visit APU’s Center for Career and Community-Engaged Learning.