These events are designed to help students connect with industry professionals in fields related to their program (the career fields of these events varies year to year). You'll be able to get the inside scoop from professionals working in the field, representing a wide range of firms in different sectors. You'll also have the opportunity to practice your networking skills, which will be a valuable experience as you move forward along your career path.
Career panels generally feature four to five alumni and industry professionals sharing their insights and experiences on everything from their current position to where their career path took them upon graduation. Each career panel focuses on specific areas of interest and/or academic programs and include a moderated discussion, followed by questions from the audience and networking.
What is networking?
Networking means talking to people and developing relationships with them. Networking is an important part of your job search and can be as simple as an informal chat with a neighbour, to a formal meeting with an individual at an organization. Networking allows you to develop new contacts and grow your connections.
Benefits of networking
- The majority of positions are not filled through posted advertisements but are typically filled through word of mouth and people known to hiring managers through their network of contacts. Networking increases the number of people who are aware of your job search and increases your chances of hearing about these unadvertised positions.
- Networking helps you gain valuable information about an industry and/or specific occupation.
How to start networking
- Most people don’t relish the idea of going to events or approaching strangers in hopes of finding a job. Start with the people you know:
- Speak to friends, family, professors and co-workers and those you have met through involvement in the community
- Attend career events on campus, including employer information sessions, career fairs and panels
- Join a club or academic society on campus
- Sign up for student memberships of professional associations and attend their events
- Find contacts in your preferred industry or business sector and make an appointment to meet with them
Be prepared, able to articulate the skills you have, know what you want and do your research before meeting with a new contact or attending a networking event.
Effective networking tips
Networking is a process of developing and nurturing relationships with others. Don’t simply cold call everyone you know and ask them if they know of any job openings. Instead:
- Seek advice and information
- Find ways to stay in touch with your contacts
- Think of ways you can help the other person
- Gradually expand your network by asking those you meet for introductions other people
Wondering what to wear to an interview, information session or networking event? Check out Dress for Success.