Networking in Six Easy Steps

By Jayne Fenton

Often students will ignore emails urging them to attend an event for the college. Sure, it’s easy to not attend an event if you won’t receive credit or a grade for it. But are you considering the draw backs to not attending a FREE event? As often as students discuss the cost of tuition, and room and board, one would think students would jump all over the opportunity to learn something for free.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the Center of Student Involvement and the Alumni Association regarding a free event titled “Networking in a Flash.” The email boasted an opportunity to help prepare panicking seniors in regards to lack of networking skills. I was intrigued by the thought of networking with actual Kent State alumni. The email explained in order to attend the networking opportunity you must attend an orientation night, where you will receive FREE business cards. I thought to myself “Even if the event is a bust, at least I get some business cards out of it.” I signed up for orientation and filled out the form for my business cards. Networking in a Flash here I come!

Orientation night came around, and I arrived 45 minutes early to the Williamson Alumni Center. I had a chance to speak with the organizer of the event, Carrie Circosta, Assistant Director of Student and Recent Graduates Programs. Circosta explained to me that the event received such a high amount of interest they had to turn away students who wanted to participate. I asked Circosta what the goal of the orientation was this evening. She mentioned the following items:

  • Help change the student’s attitude about networking
  • Alumni care for the university, good opportunity for them to give back
  • Teach students how to set goals with social networking

I was anxious to begin. We were provided a folder full of useful documents regarding networking. In a document adapted from Grand Valley State, networking summed up in six obtainable goals.

  1. Define your networking goals.
  2. Devise your compelling message.
  3. Identify who you are.
  4. Identify your personal networking style.
  5. Keep a record of your networking activities.
  6. Follow up graciously.

I found this to be the most helpful in explaining networking. The orientation on networking assured me I could network professionally, even with social media, such as LinkedIn.

 I urge every senior to go out of their comfort zone and approach someone who you look up to. Anyone can lead to your chance at landing a job.

Jayne is a senior interpersonal communication major and marketing assistant for the College of Communication and Information this fall.

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