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Networking Steps You can Start Today

Updated: Feb 21, 2020

What does it actually mean to network? Here are some easy and practical ways you can network online, in-person and throughout your time at Lehigh as a way to develop your career plan and pursue internships or jobs.

Talk to people already in your network

The first steps: tap into your existing network. Be sure your friends, family, classmates, neighbors, or faculty are aware of the type of positions or industries you are pursuing. By sharing this information with those around you, it also taps you into their networking, allowing them to refer a friend or professional contact.

Think about it:

Your classmates have parents in a variety of career fields.

Your aunts and uncles have co-workers, friends, neighbors in professional roles.

Your grandma talks the ear off every person she sees at the grocery store.

Your mom brags about you at the PTA meeting.

Your professors have industry contacts and relationships with researchers.

Be sure the people around know your career plans. Give them the information you want them to share within their network (type of work, location, company interests, ideal jobs, etc.). This is an easy way someone you already know could identify someone from their network who could serve as a resource, mentor, reference, or hiring manager for you! Talk about your next career steps to everyone around you, you never know where a connection or recommendation could be made!

Use Social Media

An easy way to spread the word is to post information on social media.

Facebook status: I am looking to make some professional connections in public health in the NYC area. Anyone have contacts or resources to recommend?

Tweet: After my recent trip to the UN with a student group from Lehigh I am fired up for working with an NGO. Has anyone worked with an organization they would recommend?

Instagram: Check out the amazing team of Lehigh students who competed with me at Lehigh Hackathon – next step summer internship! Anyone have leads for software development internship options in Philadelphia?

Huffington post: Review the pointers on using Instagram for a job or internship search

Communicate with 2,700+ Lehigh alum who have specifically signed up to mentor students. Filters let you sort by major, key word, location, industry and many more. Choose from meeting requests (in person, phone or video chat), messages or long-term mentor options.

Lehigh Connects messages examples:

Dear __________,

I was thrilled to find your profile on Lehigh Connects and very impressed with your career track. I am interested in internship positions within the ________ field and would love an opportunity to learn more about the work you do at ________ company. Would it be possible to schedule a phone call to learn more about your career? I would love to hear your advice on the key skills I should highlight on my resume and suggestions for how to best market myself to internship employers.

Hope to speak with you soon,

(Your Name)

Dear __________,

As an undergraduate student at Lehigh I would love to talk with you to learn more about how you are using your ______ degree in your role as __________. I am also exploring ways to apply my skills and education to a career and would value your advice on how to build a career plan. Specifically, I would love to learn more about your industry so I can evaluate if that is a career direction that would be a good fit for me. Would it be possible for me to job shadow you during winter break for one day between Jan 2-19th? I would love to get a good sense of the work you do and company culture at ________.

Thank you for your time,

(Your Name)

Browse 50,000+ Lehigh alum profiles:

Use key words or the filters to find someone related to your dream job. Request to connect and include a (300 character) note. In that short message outline how you are connected and ask them something everyone can say yes to. In other words, don’t start off by asking for a job/internship.

LinkedIn Note examples:

Reading through your profile, I noticed you also studied ________ at Lehigh University. I am currently a sophomore in the same department. I wondered if you had some time for me to job shadow you during spring break so I could learn more about how I can apply my education to the field of ____________.

I recently applied to a ___________ position within your company and would value any insight you could provide to help me get to know your company culture and prepare for a possible interview. From one Lehigh alum to a future Lehigh alum, do you have time to meet so I could pick your brain?

Attend networking events on campus

We host many opportunities to connect to both industry professionals and Lehigh alum on campus each semester. Check the Handshake Events tab to find Career Meet Ups, Executive in Residence Days, Speaker Panels, Career Trifecta Co-hosts, mentor events, and many other opportunities to speak to someone in person on the Lehigh campus.

You have a lead – now what?

When someone shares a name or contact information, you should reach out to them right away. This could be a call, email, Lehigh Connects message or LinkedIn connection request. Make sure you share how you received their information (establish a connection) and include a short introduction to yourself, ending with your questions.

Networking email example:

Dear ______,

Per the suggestion of (name of referral person) I am contacting you, as s/he thought you would be a great resource for me. I am currently a junior at Lehigh University studying ______ and I am looking for an internship this summer. I would love to learn more about the positions offered with your department/company/organization, and share some details about how my education and experiences have prepared me for __________ or ___________ responsibilities. I have attached my resume for your review and welcome the opportunity to talk more in person or via a phone call. I’d love to be considered for current or future openings and I happy to follow application instructions or provide more information as needed.

Thank you,

(Your Name)

Use the quick guides and links on the Networking tile from the Handshake resource page to prepare questions.

Networking Question examples:

  • I am building my fall class schedule, do you have any courses I should consider?

  • What are typical timelines for fall and spring hiring within your industry?

  • What is the best way I could gain hands on experience as an undergrad?

  • What key skills should I focus on building into my resume to be competitive in this field?

  • What are some of the differences between similar companies within this industry?

  • Do you have suggestions for internships or summer experiences I could apply to?

  • Do you know if your company plans to hire any new grads this spring?

Be ready for next steps.

If they request a resume, send it right away or take copies with you to your meeting.

If they suggest applying for a specific position, complete the application within a couple business days and follow up with them to let them know you followed their advice.

If they refer you to someone else, send a thank you and reach out to the next contact within 2 business days.

Show them you take this seriously by following directions, keeping them informed and acting on the information in a timely fashion. Even if your contact is unable to assist with hiring, the information they share could strengthen your resume, lead you to a job opening, or help you navigate an application process.

Send a thank you

Be sure you take the time to write individual and person emails or notes to anyone who shares a lead or takes time to talk or meet.

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