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Networking

Networking is one of the most important activities job seekers need to master to be truly successful in their job search. About 80% of available jobs are never advertised, so job seekers need to have a network of contacts that can provide support, information and job leads.

  1. What is the purpose of networking?
    Networking refers to connecting with others (in-person or online) to exchange information, contacts and experience for professional or social purposes. Networking can take place at social events, alumni mixers, workshops, professional associate conferences, and more.
     
  2. Who is (or can be) in your network?
    You can network with professors, field instructors, co-workers, classmates, professionals you meet at social events, neighbors, or family members.
     
  3. Why is networking so important?
    • Gives you greater access to opportunities; according to the Department of Labor, networking accounts for at least 69% of all annual hires
    • Increases your chances of becoming a “referral” and getting introduced to hiring managers (Remember, introductions are the most powerful “in”)
    • Offers you a competitive edge (i.e., provides you with guidance on what might be important to review for your job interview)
       
  4. Many people utilize employment websites as their primary vehicle to find jobs. Why is it important to not depend solely on websites for your job search?
    These days, most jobs are eventually posted online, making the competition fiercer than ever. You need to stand out. In fact, many times, employers may have a candidate already identified prior to the posting of the job. Additionally, recruiters and hiring managers can receive hundreds of resumes for an open position. With good networking, you can become a “referral” in addition to applying for jobs online.
     
  5. How do I utilize the Trojan Network?
    Many organizations have LinkedIn and Facebook pages, which are great places to start connecting with people whom you share commonalities.
    Social Work Alumni Association Facebook
    USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work LinkedIn
    USC Alumni Association Facebook
    USC Alumni Association LinkedIn
    Alumnae (Women's) Groups
    Generational Groups
    Regional Clubs
    Trojans Hiring Trojans
    Trojan Network Career Forum
    Graduate Student Events
    Student Organizations
     
  6. How do I introduce myself to someone I want to network with?
    One tool people use to introduce themselves is their “elevator speech,” a 30-second overview about their knowledge, skills and accomplishments. This short sound bite allows you to briefly and powerfully introduce yourself to a professional you just met. Below is a general example meant to give you ideas. Feel free to adjust your delivery for the given situation (e.g., you may not give all of it at one time).

    Example – Student: “Hello, my name is ___. I am a USC Master of Social Work student graduating this May. I am currently interning at ______ where I work on ____, ___and ___. I was able to (mention achievements). I have experience in (mention skills/key words).

    Example – Alumni: “Hello, my name is ___. I am a social work professional with over five years experience in (mention skills/key words). I am currently (give job title/company) or (in transition). My current/last position is/was at ____. Here I ___ (mention skills/keywords and achievements).

    NOTE: Remember this is a two-way conversation, and it should flow freely. The above are just suggestions of how you can start/integrate the conversation.
     
  7. After I give my elevator speech, what else might I say?
    After you give your introduction, ask the person what they do and look for commonalities. Feel free to comment on similarities, etc. When you are getting ready to “close” the conversation, ask your new contact for their information so you can follow up:
  • To conduct an informational interview
  • To simply discuss how you can help each other
  • To eventually ask if they know of job leads (be specific)