By Seren Jones
Networking is a term that is often used and emphasized today. But do college students really know what it means, and more importantly, understand its significance?
On Tuesday, March 18, LIU Post’s Career Services and Experiential Education department hosted a networking event and welcomed college recruiters Jeannie Toscano and Jennifer Tudda-Githens from the Geico Insurance Company to teach the importance of networking when searching for jobs.
The event, which was free of charge and open to all students, was held in room 121 of Humanities Hall. A dozen students whose majors ranged from English to Marketing, gained skills that will help them when visiting networking fairs and searching for jobs. They were taught how to initiate conversations by correctly using icebreakers, skills that are relevant to have when networking.
Networking, according to Tudda-Githens, is a process where you develop long-term relationships with others for mutual benefit. For college students, the concept of networking appears nerve-racking and intimidating. Many assume that to become a successful networker, you must be a “people person.” However, if you are aware of how to communicate in a variety of different ways, be it formally or informally, anybody can master the skill.
The purpose of the event was to prepare students for what lies beyond life after Post. At some point in time, students will begin to search for a job, thus being able to network successfully and confidently is a vital key that will contribute toward the career path of the students. Additionally, the lecture aimed to help those who plan on attending the career fair that will be taking place from 11 a.m. to 2.30 p.m., on April 10 at the Tilles Center Atrium. The students will have a better idea of what to expect when surrounded by the 50 companies that have been invited, as well as how to communicate with potential employers.
“College students fail to understand the importance of networking,” Toscano said. “When networking, you can do all sorts of things. You can get to know people, investigate career ideas, learn from others’ experiences, find jobs and opportunities that are not publicly advertised, build a support team or mentor for you career, and develop your soft skills[which are communication and listening.]”
Toscano also remarked on the notion that networking isn’t all about verbal communications. “When you attend an event there is a lot to be done before the actual networking [begins]. Students should know to arrive early at such events, in order to avoid the consequence of being late, which is finding everyone else already in deep conversation, making it harder for you to communicate and network,” Tudda-Githens said.
“Leave bags and coats at the check in or entrance, it makes it easier to move through the crowds without them. Also, make sure your business cards are handy and always smile and make eye-contact.”
Tudda-Githens and Toscano will return to campus for the career fair on April 10 to recruit for Geico’s Management Development department.