Network to get work

by, Brian Stevenson, Career Counseling Intern

Studies indicate that roughly 80% of jobs are found through networking, however, many people spend a majority of their time browsing online job banks for their next employment opportunity.  I’ll admit that during my undergraduate years, I fell into this very category.  However, since entering a master’s program here at San Jose State, I have learned how important networking can be to jumpstart your career. 

If you are looking for more great networking information, be sure to attend the workshop, “Network to Get Work!” at the SJSU Career Center on April 29th at 12:00PM.

Here are six networking tips I have found useful when searching for jobs:

1.       Talk to those that you know best.  Be honest and upfront about your job search with people you are close with.

Let them know what type of work you are looking for, where you would like to work, and why you would be good at it.  And always ask if they know a professional in your field that you could speak with.  You’ll be surprised to find out how many people your friends know across many diverse industries. 

2.       Utilize parents.  Respect your elders! 

Most likely, these people in your life have a larger professional network than yourself which they have been maintaining for many years.  Reach out to your parents as well as your friends’ parents by letting them know what type of work you are looking for.  Chances are they will be more than happy to connect you with professionals they feel would be helpful in your job search. 

3.       Profess to know your professors.  From my experience, professors have some of the largest networks around. 

Stop by your professors’ office hours frequently so that they get to know who you are.  Build a genuine relationship with your professor, and show him or her that you are responsible, mature, and dedicated to your field.  If you do this, your professors may be more inclined to open up their network to you. 

4.       Conduct informational interviews.  Wait, what is an informational interview? 

These arranged meetings with a person who has a career in an industry or organization that you are interested in will provide you with a lot of insider information.  On top of this, these meetings may lead to long term professional relationships or referrals to other professional contacts.  BUT BE CAREFUL!  These meetings are not interviews!  Do not approach an informational interview with the mindset that this person can or should hire you for a job.  It’s important to treat these meetings professionally in regards to conduct and attire, but approach informational interviews with the mindset of gathering information about a specific career rather than asking for a job. 

5.       Join professional associations and clubs.  Research organizations that are available to you based on your area of interest. 

There are numerous organizations on campus as well as off campus where you can connect with other people with professional interests similar to your own.  Meetup is one great website that connects you with other individuals that share similar career interests.   

6.       Update and maintain your social media network. It’s time to take down and untag yourself from all those unprofessional pictures floating around on Facebook – you know which ones I’m talking about!

Use these accounts to stay up to date and current about what is going on in the industries and organizations you want to work at. Consider creating professional social media accounts such as a blog or a Linkedin profile. 


Brian Stevenson,  Career Counseling Graduate Intern

 Brian received his B.A. from the University of California, Irvine in 2007, and is currently working on his M.A. in Counselor Education from San Jose State University.  He has been a member of the SJSU Career Center team since the summer of 2009.



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