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[This post was originally published on the CMC’s blog, “Go to Market.”]

Networking is a critical skill to land your next job and for growing your entire career. Kellogg’s Career Management Center spoke with recent graduate, Yasmina Chalhoub (2Y 2020), as well as current CMC coaches, on how to make the most of your networking.

“Networking played a critical role in my job search – I was always taught that your network is your net worth,” said Yasmina Chalhoub ’20.

Whether you love it or loathe it, networking is key to landing your post-Kellogg role, in addition to supporting your career growth for years to come. And with the plethora of changes to the way we live and work in the past year due to COVID-19, some aspects of networking itself have also changed while many of the basic tenets remain the same.

So what matters most for effective networking during an uncertain and virtual time? We share some tips to make the most of your networking from CMC coaches and recent 2020 graduate, Yasmina Chalhoub.

Think broad with your network

When you hear “networking,” it can be easy to immediately think of recruiter Zoom calls and multi-school networking events. Joining structured networking events and touch points is important; however, proactive and targeted outreach outside of structured opportunities is equally crucial to develop relationships with potential employers and others in your network that could lead to an interview down the road.

Beyond potential employers, remember that relationships with your classmates, the CMC, Kellogg alumni, professors, personal contacts and former colleagues and clients can all support your career journey. Be sure to also check out professional associations within your industries of interest, as these can help open doors to broader networking within your field. Yasmina emphasized the importance of leveraging a broad network, noting her accepted full-time offer came from a Marketing Consulting Lab client contact via one of her professors.

Be methodical and intentional

In this day and age, when most people are spending more time on screens and connecting via Zoom, be cognizant of personal and professional demands on others’ time. Be explicit in your requests so your contact understands what you’re looking to get out of a conversation. Instead of an open ended question, such as, “I would like to know about your career path,” try, “I am interested in knowing how you were able to leverage your consulting background in your current role, as I am hoping to make a similar pivot.”

Be intentional in tracking your interactions is equally important. Yasmina noted, “Taking a methodical approach (make that spreadsheet and be diligent with it!) to networking helped me keep track of where I was in the process with each company, when to follow up and who to contact next.” Be sure to write it all down: name of the contact, date of interaction, content of conversation and any potential follow-up items so future conversations can build. Your industry and company knowledge will grow with each interaction, so taking notes will help you plan for your next conversation.

After each conversation, also be sure to ask yourself what you learned about the company and 2-3 key points about yourself that you anchored with your contact. Have a plan for your interaction and know ahead of time what critical information about your background you want your contact to take away.

Utilize the Kellogg resources available to you

The CMC Library has a wealth of resources, including resources for networking both within and outside of the Kellogg network. These resources include search directories for finding email addresses or other contact information, as well as workshops dedicated to identifying and building your networks — which can be especially helpful for just-in-time recruiting.

“In the thick of recruiting,” Yasmina said, “I found value in setting up recurring appointments with my CMC coach,” Yasmina mentioned. “It helped to bounce ideas off her and held me accountable for follow-up and action items on my recruiting journey.”

Remember, your career partners and supporters — whether they’re your peers, your CMC coach or your CMC Librarian — are just a click or email away!