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Networking and Job Search Tips

Networking & Job Search Tips

Networking and job searching go hand in hand. Use the information below to develop these important skills. Be sure to also connect with your Career Planning and Placement staff for help.


Networking is building relationships for employment or business purposes. You can network in class, at work, and during social interactions. The goals of networking are to meet other people in your industry of interest or connect with people who can help in your career development. Networking is also an important skill for academic and career success.

Networking Quick Tips:
  • Developing a strong network takes time and commitment.​
  • Be sure to network both online and in person.
  • Create a system to stay organized and connected to your contacts.
  • Network before you “need” to.
  • The best networkers give as much as they get. So, help your contacts when possible.

Build a Network  

The best way to build a network is to start with who you know. Determine your main goals [PDF] for networking and then make a list of your contacts (friends, family members, colleagues, instructors etc.) Once you have a list, connect with your contacts and explain your goals [PDF]. Set up informational interviews [PDF] and meetings. Be sure to be polite and to thank everyone. Finally, keep track of your contacts and interactions. Use a reliable system such as your phone, LinkedIn, or an excel spreadsheet. Contact your network regularly and work to build strong relationships. Also, don't forget to send thank you notes [PDF].

Grow Your Network  
There are many ways to grow your professional network. A few ideas to get started are:  
  • Ask your contacts for introductions to new people.
  • Attend networking and industry events. Check out our Job Fair and Event Guide [PDF] for help.
  • Join student clubs, the Alumni Association​, or other organizations.
  • Use online social networking to your advantage. See below for tips.

Attending networking events, conferences and trade shows can be intimidating. In order to make the most of these networking opportunities, be sure to use our event guide [PDF] and:  

  • Arrive on-time.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Act friendly, smile and introduce yourself to people explaining why you’re at the event.
  • Ask people open-ended questions about themselves and their career.
  • Ask for business cards and follow up promptly with people you meet (usually within 48 hours is best).
LinkedIn​ is a professional networking website. LinkedIn is free and is a great way stay connected to professional contacts online. When using LinkedIn make sure to: 
  • Create an online profile where you can showcase your skills and experience.
  • Be consistent. Make sure your employment and educational history matches your LinkedIn profile.
  • Use a professional looking photo.
  • Get help! Talk to your Career Planning and Placement staff for assistance.

General Social Media Do’s and Don’ts
  • Do - Google your name. Find out what employers can see about you. 
  • Do - Use social media to stay informed about favorite employers or transfer colleges.
  • Do - Maintain and develop your online presence.
  • Don’t - Post inappropriate information on social media. Employers check sites like Facebook regularly.
  • Don’t - Forget your privacy settings. Keep social pictures or controversial posts private or off the internet.
  • Don’t - Connect with everyone. Quality is better than quantity.  
  • Don’t - Spend time networking at work. Companies can monitor your time on networking sites.  

Job Search Tips

Researching the job you're interested in is an important step many applicants overlook. Investigating the job in depth can help you be sure you want to apply and support your preparation. ​                      

Job Search Quick Tips
  • Use the job description to customize your resume and cover letter
  • Make sure you understand the job responsibilities and meet most of the qualifications. 
  • Try to go directly to the employer's website to apply, rather than a general job board. 
  • Keep a copy of any job description to which you have applied.
  • Follow our online application guidelines below.
Research the Company  
Learning about a company is one of the most important steps in job hunting. First, try to network with people who have experience with that organization. You can also learn a lot about a company online. Get started by:  
  • Going to the company's website to learn about the services or products they offer. 
  • Checking out the company’s “Mission Statement” or “About Us” section.
  • Googling the company. Have they been in the news lately? The more you know the better. 
 Use the Job Description      

A job description is more than just a hiring notice; It's a window into who that company wants to hire. Read each job description carefully. Check the list below to test your job description vocabulary.

Common Job Description Terms:   

  • Required - A mandatory skill or attribute for the position. 
  • Preferred  - A valuable, but not mandatory skill or attribute for the position. 
  • Education Level - The minimum amount of education expected for the position. 
  • Duties / Responsibilities - A list or summary of tasks that the candidate can expect to perform. 
  • Benefits  - Incentives of the position. Benefits often include health insurance or time off. 
  • Qualifications - Qualities or accomplishments that make someone suitable for a particular job or activity. 
Customize, Customize, Customize  
Before you apply make sure to customize your application materials to the job description. Thoroughly read the job posting BEFORE you customize your resume. Look for patterns of keywords and skills and use that same language in your resume. See our Crafting a Cover Letter and Writing a Resume sections for assistance. Also, be sure to connect with your Career Planning and Placement staff     
Online Application Guidelines  

 When applying online, computers are often the first to read your resume. You should develop both a computer-optimized resume AND an in-person resume. The tips below will help you create a computer optimized version.      
Online Application Formatting Basics:   
  • Do not use a resume developed with a template. 
  • Simple formatting is best. Do not mix different font types or sizes. 
  • Resumes must be in Microsoft Word format. If you prefer not to use MS Word, use RTF or “Save as Text”. 
  • Do not submit a PDF or use headers or footers.
  • Make every item of your contact information its own line. Example: 

John Doe
1234 Z Street, Chicago IL 60601 

  • Keep similar data in like order and keep things chronological when possible. 
  • Do not use page numbers, logos or graphics. 
  • Separate each key record (Education, Work Experience, etc.) with a blank line by using the Enter Key. 
  • Dates should be written as Month YEAR (example: March 2013). Do not use all number dates.
  • If you held several different positions in a company, treat each position separately. For example, if you were a Barista at Starbucks and then promoted to a Store Manager, Starbucks should be listed twice. 
  • Make sure to communicate your hard skills clearly in your "Work Experience" section. Do not assume a computer will read a seperate "Skills" section.
  • Do not put references on your resume. They will confuse the computer.

Need help? Contact your Career Planning and Placement staff.      

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8-Week Classes Start March 11