Tap into the Power of Networking
When you are looking for the best boba in Riverside, who do you turn to? Friends? Classmates? Members of your student organization? Why do you turn to them? Probably because you trust them and their judgement, right? This is exactly how networking works - when you share what types of opportunities you are looking for, you may be surprised by how many people around you can recommend a position they heard about, or can connect you with a family friend who works in that industry.
You are connected with many more people than you realize. How many people have you interacted with this week? Family members? Friends? Classmates and instructors? Coworkers and supervisors? Members of your student organizations, volunteer group, or church? The barista who knows your order when you stop at your favorite coffee shop? All of these people and more are part of your network. These are all people you have something in common with and have built some kind of relationship with, which is the foundation of networking. By focusing on building strong relationships rather than focusing on finding a job, you may find that it takes some of the pressure off and that your connections are more authentic.
As many as 85% of job seekers list networking as the primary method of finding their current position. Each year a full one-third of graduating UCR students report the same. Give it a try!
Expand your connections
You can build upon your existing network by intentionally reaching out to alumni or other individuals who are working in your field of interest. Start to build relationships by meeting with them to learn more about their career journey and responsibilities, ask questions about what they have learned, and get insider information about how to stand out as a candidate. After you have gotten to know each other, they may even refer you for your next job or internship!
Not sure who to start connecting with? Here are some starting points:
- Campus community: professors, staff (including the Career Center), alumni, and your classmates
- Online: LinkedIn, UCR Career Network, and/or CareerShift
- Community programs: Chambers of Commerce and industry nights
- Recruiting events: career fairs and information sessions
- Anyone you meet socially who takes an interest in your career goals
Professional associations can be found for just about any field of study. Most associations have local or regional groups, which may meet quarterly or even monthly. Often, non-members can attend a meeting or two before joining. The meetings feature speakers and offer a tremendous opportunity to make contact with people who are in a position to be of fairly direct help. Sometimes the associations will have job postings in the association newsletter or on the Internet. Often recruitment occurs at the national meetings. Many organizations offer student membership fees at greatly reduced prices. Join. Get involved! Volunteer for committee work! This can be job search activity at its most productive.
The Career Center staff can help you find the associations and match your career interests. You can search this online database of professional associations in your field of interest!
- Check out Highlanderlink to connect with students who share your interests, identity(ies), and career goals.
- Connect with professionals using CareerShift in Handshake.
- The UCR Alumni Association and the UCR Career Center are committed to providing current students and alumni with meaningful networking opportunities. This is why we decided to introduce the UCR Career Network — a powerful tool that gives students and alumni access to mentoring, job boards, and endless connections.