Today: May 29, 2024

OCPD allows students to network

Jack Abbot- General Reporter

Innovation Hub and the Office of Career and Professional Development hosted a networking workshop to prepare students for an upcoming networking event for students of color. 

The event was hosted in Adanti Student Center and was intended to help students learn about many basic networking skills. The main topics discussed were the importance of networking, how to dress for networking events, how to deal with nerves and how to build an elevator pitch. 

“A lot of times when we think about opportunities, especially when we’re networking, we only think about the jobs that we had. But opportunities encompass experiential learning,” Assistant Director of the Office of Career and Professional Development Rachel Cunningham-Exavier said. “Experiential learning is everything from work to internships to volunteer opportunities.”  

The presenters claimed that networking offers a variety of opportunities, and even if you are unable to find employment, a networking event can help an individual to learn about industries and build connections within those industries. 

For these events, business casual is the standard; however, many networking events will request business formal attire.  

Networking events can be especially difficult for people who are introverted or otherwise not good with crowds. To plan for these events, it is recommended to embrace strategies to help your nerves.  

These can include things like showing up early, doing proper preparation and research, or having positive self-talk. It can be important to understand what you are comfortable with and set realistic goals.  

“Realistic goals could mean, ‘I am a person that is an introvert, and it’s a lot for me to talk to a lot of people. Maybe two is my goal, and then I’ll step out for a minute and take a breather because I know I need to do that to take care of myself,’” Cunningham-Exavier said. “That is fine. That’s a realistic goal. Another realistic goal is ‘I’m going to go, and I don’t really want to go. I’m going to make a point to stay at least 30 minutes.’” 

The final part of the presentation included information on building an elevator pitch and practice with elevator pitches on others. An elevator pitch is a brief explanation of yourself and your career goals and experience. These should be under a minute and can also include information that makes you unique and something that could connect you to the listener. 

This workshop is in preparation for a networking event, “Connecting Students and Professionals of Color,” that will be taking place on April 11 in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom. 

“It’s going to be a really big networking and community event, so it will be beneficial for students to get a little bit of practice in, ideally before that event,” Academic and Career Success Coordinator Muhaymina Plair said. 

For this event, it is recommended that students follow the prior mentioned advice and come prepared with an elevator pitch. Some companies that will be present at this event are Boehringer Ingelheim, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer. 

“You always want to- even if this person is not in your industry- you always want to get their information because maybe they know somebody,” Cunningham-Exavier said. 

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