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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Career Corner: The importance of building career connections both now and in the future

There+are+many+networking+opportunities+at+MATC.+This+is+an+Employer+Appreciation+Breakfast+for+M-Cubed%2C+a+partnership+with+MPS%2C+MATC+and+UWM.+The+event+was+held+to+thank+employers+and+organizations+for+creating+work-based+learning+experiences+for+students+in+Milwaukee.
Photo by Maiyer Thao
There are many networking opportunities at MATC. This is an Employer Appreciation Breakfast for M-Cubed, a partnership with MPS, MATC and UWM. The event was held to thank employers and organizations for creating work-based learning experiences for students in Milwaukee.

As an Employment Development Specialist at the CareerHub, I have the privilege of assisting many students in their job search journey. My approach starts with a comprehensive assessment, exploring their current career path status and their current position on the job. I inquire about their past experiences and skills, but one pivotal question often arises: “Do you have a network of friends and/or business professionals?” Unfortunately, more often than not, the responses are a resounding “No,” or an acknowledgment that they haven’t started one, or sometimes they simply don’t know what that entails.

It’s somewhat disheartening, as students have a fantastic opportunity to begin building a professional network with classmates, instructors and business professionals through their internships. However, what brings me the greatest satisfaction in my role is that they leave having gained valuable insights not only about strategies for uncovering fantastic career opportunities but also about the art of building a network that will ultimately guide them to the jobs they seek.

Building professional connections is among the most valuable career skills a professional can possess. A robust network not only aids in discovering career opportunities but also facilitates success within them. The question often arises: “Why is making connections important?” You may have heard the saying, “It’s often about who you know and not necessarily what you know.” What this really implies is that networking is a skill that can be acquired. Building a network involves forming connections that may prove crucial in supporting your career in the future. While this process takes time, what better time to start than when you’re in school?

Building connections comes with various benefits, such as identifying new job opportunities, establishing mentorship relationships, influencing your professional development, and potentially accelerating promotions by connecting with more senior staff.

Here are 10 effective ways to begin building your network:

  1. Attend Networking Events: Participate in industry-specific events, career fairs, and seminars to meet professionals in your field.
  2. Utilize Social Media: Create and maintain a professional profile on platforms like LinkedIn and Handshake to connect with colleagues, alumni and industry experts.
  3. Join Professional Organizations: Become a member of relevant professional associations, and attend their meetings and events.
  4. Informational Interviews: Request informational interviews with professionals in your field to gain insights and expand your network.
  5. Alumni Associations: Connect with alumni from your educational institution for networking opportunities and career advice.
  6. Volunteer: Offer your time and skills for causes or events aligned with your interests to meet like-minded individuals.
  7. Online Forums and Communities: Participate in online forums and communities related to your industry to engage with professionals. You can find them on Handshake.
  8. Utilize Your Existing Network: Inform friends, family, instructors and colleagues about your career goals and seek introductions to their contacts.
  9. Attend Workshops and Webinars: Enroll in workshops or webinars related to your field to connect with both experts and peers.
  10. Networking within Your Workplace: Engage with colleagues within your organization, attend company events and join internal groups.

Remember, building a network is an ongoing process that requires consistency and genuine interest in fostering meaningful connections. If you need assistance, please email: [email protected] or go to the CareerHub website.

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