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Networking

Consider a Professional Mentor

Have you ever wondered what your classmates are talking about when they refer to their mentor? Why are they important? And how do you go about finding one?

A mentor could be younger or older than the mentee, but what sets them apart is the mentor's level of experience or depth of knowledge in a particular area or field. A mentorship program is beneficial for personal development as well as professional development. Typically a mentorship program would include a person of less experience and a person of more experience sharing ideas and thoughts over the area of interest.

Aside from building a professional relationship with someone in the workforce, mentorships may provide you with new skills, knowledge, contacts, or even new job opportunities. More than likely, if you find a mentor that is really interested in your professional development, they will become more of a career coach helping you build … 

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Networking Series Part III: Networking for Introverts

I have a confession to make—I am an introvert. This is something I have had to come to terms with in many aspects of my life. I embrace my introversion, but during my undergraduate job search I thought it was an obstacle. I kept hearing things like “build your network” and “put yourself out there.” It was so easy for people to say those words, but just hearing them made me anxious. Eventually, I decided that I was acting as my own roadblock to success by letting my thoughts take over. I had in my mind what it meant to be good at networking; envisioning this confident, extroverted person who spoke to everyone and gave out stacks of resumes at every turn. Then I found out that each person has their own way to network and that companies recognize the value of employing a variety of people. In the … 

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Networking Part II: How to Work a Room

Knowing how to “work the room” at an event can make the difference between a stressful waste of time and a meaningful experience. Here are seven tips you can use to work the room, then make sure everyone you meet remembers you when you leave it!

  1. Make a plan. Do your homework! Can you get ahold of the guest list? If so, who do you want to meet? If possible, connect with a few individuals prior to the event. Connecting ahead of the face-to-face meeting can eliminate some of the discomfort that comes with meeting someone new at a networking event. Once you meet the individual, you can pick right up with where your conversation left off via LinkedIn or email.
  2. Create talking points. Read the news and think about (noncontroversial) topics that can be used for interesting conversation starters. Make an effort to ask open-ended questions, show enthusiasm and genuine interest … 
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Networking Series Part I: Making Small Talk

Networking.  The word alone makes some people cringe.  Me included!  The thought of making small talk to people I don’t know, often in an uncomfortable setting, is just not the most appealing thing.  I get it!  However, networking is a part of life and is essential while you are job seeking. 

Part one of our two part series on networking will give helpful tips to making small talk.

PREPARING TO MAKE SMALL TALK:

  • Create a list of topics that you enjoy talking about and can do so with ease.   Specific to your job search, this can include your career interests, projects, favorite classes, etc.  Even if it is a career-related networking event, feel free to talk about passions and interests OUTSIDE the realm of engineering; doing this provides an inside look at who YOU are, and you never know what interests you may have in common.  This … 
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Professional Organizations: To Join or Not to Join

What are the things you’ve considered in the past when joining extracurricular activities? Stakeholders? Community service? Socialization with others? Costs? Extracurricular activity considerations do not have to be completely different when thinking about joining a professional organization.  

Professional organizations can be formal or informal. One of the most resourceful, but often missed opportunities for a professional organization is staying connected with your classmates. Your classmates likely have similar professional interests. Think of ways to stay connected with them after graduation or throughout college, whether that be a LinkedIn group or creating your own focus groups that meet monthly to discuss current trends in your industries of interest.

On a more formal side of professional organizations, there are numerous professional organizations to choose from, but how to find the right one is the ultimate dilemma.

Consider:

  1. Defining your interests.

  2. Understanding the mission and vision of the organization.

  3. Knowing your time constraints … 

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