Tips & Gifs: Networking

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Whether it’s with a coworker, boss, or mentor, creating social connections is key to advancing your career. Here are some ways you can network over break.

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There’s still time to RSVP for Whitties Helping Whitties.

Even worse than being late to class is never showing up at all. This rings true for Whitties Helping Whitties networking events, which are (free) opportunities to meet local alumni and practice talking to new people in a relatively comfortable environment (everyone has something in common: Whitman). There are three of these events over winter break:

  • Monday, January 9th, 2017: San Jose click here to register
  • Tuesday, January 10th, 2017: Portland click here to register
  • Wednesday, January 11th, 2017: Seattle click here to register

Take advantage of post-holiday sales.

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One of the best times to shop for professional wear is after December 25th. Many stores discount their merchandise to clear inventory before the new year, which is a great opportunity to find a suit or a new collared shirt for your next interview (or clothes to wear to Whitties Helping Whitties!).

Use business cards.

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If you’ve received any business cards in the last six months, take some time in the first week of January to follow up with people. Your communication could take many forms–an update on your academic progress at Whitman, an article sent via email, a personalized ‘connect’ request on LinkedIn, or a thank you note (handwritten and mailed, please!)

For a personal project, try printing your own business cards. Even if you’re not exactly employed, (see below), having a business card is a small but clear way to show that you are well-organized and professional.

There are many free templates online; as long as you print on cardstock and cut the cards out evenly (most public libraries have paper cutters), they’ll look as good as manufactured ones.

Try out Whitman Connect.

Not all networking happens in person. In fact, Whitman has an online database called Whitman Connect that can help students meet people in their fields of interest.

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Once you sign the code of conduct, Whitman Connect allows you to search more than 17,000 alumni based on class, major, location, business, and campus activities. Alumni with a small envelope button by their name have indicated they’re willing to receive email from other Whitties. Over break, try emailing three alumni who’ve gone to graduate programs you’re considering, pursued fields that interest you, or worked at companies you’re curious about. Use the word “Whitman” in your subject line (this increases the likelihood that they’ll open it) and ask if they would have time to tell you about their career path or their post-Whitman life on a quick phone call.  Refrain from asking for an internship or a mentoring relationship; these requests are too forward for an initial contact and put the recipient in an awkward position.

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