Looking for internship or research opportunities? Want to learn more about a career field or industry? Learning how to network can yield great results, even in the virtual world!
What is networking?
Simply put, the process of making personal and professional connections and building those relationships over time in order to either (1) advance your career knowledge or (2) help you find opportunities related to areas of interest.
When and where should I network?
Networking can occur at any time anywhere -- family gatherings, doctor appointments, conversations with other students at social events, academic department gatherings, or even in the grocery check-out line. The best place to start is by connecting with people you already know. Your network already includes family, friends, neighbors, UMBC faculty and staff, and colleagues.
Can I network now? In a pandemic??
Yes! You can reach out to anyone you know – virtually!
Although we are in a virtual world, UMBC students also have many opportunities to interact with faculty, staff, alumni, and employers. The Career Center hosts a wide variety of virtual events throughout the academic year ranging from intimate, industry-specific employer panels to large career fairs. See our calendar of events.
How do I start?
The easiest way to begin is with a brief email explaining your motivation for reaching out. Be sure to attach your resume. To structure the conversation, you can follow the Informational Interview guide – which will help you with questions to consider asking.
Join a student organization to build your network!
Here at UMBC there is wide variety of student organizations! Whether it is cultural organization, a student group, a living learning community—those bonds begin now and continue long after you graduate. Explore the many affinity groups and clubs of interest.
TIP OF THE DAY:
“Networking can open many doors for students by providing opportunities to gain information, useful skills, and perhaps even your next position… but it can be challenging for those of us with more introverted personalities. The simplest way to start things off, either in person or via email is with a question. The question could be about what their job is, the talk or lecture they just gave, or other interesting item you’d like to know about.” Cesar E. Perez-Gonzalez, Ph.D., Training Director, NIH, National Eye Institute
WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?
Now that you know the many benefits of building a robust network, consider one of the following next steps:
- Join at least one UMBC student organization of your choice to start building connections with those who share similar interests.
- Identify someone in your network and craft an email, requesting an informational interview.
- Craft a 30-second commercial to use for your next informal encounter!
Get the scoop on exciting internship opportunities! Follow the Career Center on Twitter, where we’ll be highlighting amazing internships across a variety of industries all week!