Networking serves two purposes: exploring careers of interest to you to make academic and career decisions, and securing employment. Regardless of your intent, networking is a two-way street where you build relationships that are mutually empowering. Western Michigan University students should review the guidelines below for best practices.
- Informational Interviewing Guidelines—information on how to conduct informational interviews to gain insight into particular careers or industries
- Networking Guidelines—information on best networking practices, primarily for employment opportunities
While networking, it is important to present yourself professionally in all aspects of your communication. Here are a few recommendations to ensure success:
- Use a professional email address, either your Western Michigan University email or a personal one. If you use a personal one, it is best to use one that identifies who you are to an employer.
- Ensure the voicemail message on your cell phone is professional. State your first and last name in your message and make sure there is no noise in the background. We also recommend that you do not use music as your ringer.
- In written communication, do not use text speak (ex: thru, 2nite, lol, etc.). Proofread everything to ensure there are no errors.
More and more employers are reviewing candidates' online presence, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles. It is important that your social media presence is professional and reflects your experience and skills.
- Google yourself. What do you find? Is it professional?
- Make your Facebook and Twitter profiles private. If you use these sites when networking, they should represent you professionally.
- Create and maintain your LinkedIn profile.