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Professional Networking Strategies for Students—and How Parents can Help

Students at a career fair

With the spring semester fully underway, many students will be identifying summer internships, and those graduating in May will be beginning the job search. Regardless of where your student currently finds herself on this journey, it’s never too early for her to start thinking about her post-graduation plans, and an important part of your students’ career development plan is building a strong professional network.

Students should be planful and knowledgeable about what a job search will entail, and an important component of the search is building strong relationships through networking! We know that 80-90% of jobs are found via referrals and networking, so it’s essential for your student to start creating professional contacts early in her college career. When embarking on the job search, experts suggest that 60% of your time should be spent meeting and connecting with professionals, 30% of your time spent researching opportunities, and 10% sending resumes to contacts. How can you help support your student in this endeavor? Help her develop contacts for information and advice in career planning and job searching. Refer your student to colleagues, family friends, and community connections with experience related to her interests, and encourage her to have informational conversations with individuals in careers and industries of interest. This will help her to solidify her career direction while building a lasting network at the same time. Ask your student if she’s actively using LinkedIn as a resource, and encourage her to do so. OCP frequently works with students to create a strong, professional LinkedIn profiles — 90% of employers are recruiting via this platform! In fact, an alumna employer partner at BB&T recently shared that 100% of their recruiting efforts are now taking place via LinkedIn.

The Office of Career Planning hosts a wide selection of events and programming each semester, designed to give students the opportunity to prepare professionally and start building a strong network. Spring opportunities include an Evening of Etiquette, an opportunity for students to practice dining etiquette and network with professionals; our annual Spring Career Fair, with over 90 employers participating; Mock Interview Week; and various information sessions throughout the semester featuring employers such as SAS, Pivotal, RTI International, and the Peace Corps. We hope your students will take advantage of these opportunities to connect with employers!

Parents play an important role in students’ career development process — encourage your student to be intentional about getting started! Advise her to utilize her CareerLink account, now powered by Handshake, to stay on top of upcoming career-related events and to view job and internship postings. The Office of Career Planning looks forward to helping your student navigate options, discuss networking strategies, and put together a successful job search plan.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330

allenme@meredith.edu