Audrey Bare, a Graduate Assistant at Millersville University’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Management (ELCM), hosted a networking workshop which took place on Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. in Room 118 located in the Student Memorial Center (SMC).
The purpose of the networking workshop was to teach students how to network in an effective way and how to present themselves at a job event or a mixer. The students filled out a professional networking planning worksheet which was meant to help them find a job. They were asked to list three companies that they would want to work for after graduation, name two professional organizations related to the student’s field, and list three professionals who the students could contact for help with their job search.
Each student also created a thirty second “commercial,” or script, to present themselves to potential employers.
“Hi my name is Sara Hess. I am a senior at Millersville University. I will be graduating in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work,” said Sara Hess, a student who attended the event and read from her written script. She continued to read her script, mentioning a thesis that she is currently working on and will complete in January.
Hess talked about her internship, which helped her gain a better understanding of poverty and homelessness. She was part of an agency that works with the homeless and empowers their clients to reach their potentials. Hess closed her script by asking,
“Do you have any advice for me or can you suggest any potential employees?”
Bare and other attendees gave encouraging feedback.
“Wow! Very detailed. Good job!” Bare exclaimed.
Other students commented on the skills and experience that she has and how those skills would be useful in the job that she applies for. Some students suggested listing the goals and ideals of the company and then telling the employer why the job seeker aligns with those goals.
This event was connected to the Marauder Mixer, which took place on Dec. 4. The mixer was a business hour where alumni and students were able to connect with one another and talk about opportunities that are available in the area.
Bare gave a presentation which included tips on how to navigate a hidden job market. She noted that about 70-80% of jobs openings are never posted publicly, so networking skills are important in finding the “hidden” jobs. It is always about “who you know”.
The networking workshop was meant to help students distinguish the difference between how they should act while attending a professional event, versus how they should act while socializing with friends.
“The way you present yourself is a little different, so sometimes it helps to practice some of those skills and strategies to do that,” said Bare.
Bare asked the attendees to commit to one thing that they will do within the next two weeks to work on their networking skills. She suggested that they attend the Marauder Mixer and speak to at least three people so that the students would be held accountable for their career goal.
Other steps that students were encouraged to take in order to expand their professional careers was to make a LinkedIn profile or attend an informational interview. An informational interview is a low pressure interview where a potential job seeker attempts to discover more about their job field and how to network.
“Find people that you might want to talk to, treat it as a real interview and come prepared for a list of questions,” said Bare. In the cases of rejection by an employer Bare said, “Always remember to end the interview by asking if there is anyone else you can contact. It’s a nice way to practice and expand your networking.”
Maggie Johnson, and English major with a minor in Government and Political Affairs, suggested keeping business cards from people who she has met as a form of networking.
“On the back I’d write where I met them, and something significant that I remembered from the conversation,” said Johnson. “That’s how I started keeping track of everyone that I’ve met. But when I go to them I take a little tablet so that if I have to write down any other information I have that instead of my cellphone because it looks more professional. People don’t know what you’re doing on it. It’s clear what I’m doing. I’m taking down your information, I’m not texting or using Facebook.”