Make Networking Work For You

By Julie Pereira-Gomes '23

When someone hears the word, “networking,” anxiety is often the fi rst thing they feel. However, networking does not have to be intimidating. Networking is all about developing relationships with those whose jobs or company interest you. In doing so, you can learn their path, tips for success, and what skills and knowledge will help you on your journey. Networking benefi ts you! Here are some helpful hints of networking to keep in mind. First, target individuals at various stages of their career. HC Network ( and LinkedIn ( are two great resources available to students in this area. HC Network is a platform designed for Holy Cross students to connect with Holy Cross alumni. HC Network makes it easy to network because it includes templates of pre-written networking messages to make your initial outreach. Speaking from experience, these templates were helpful in giving me confi dence when reaching out to alumni with whom I was not previously connected. Entry-level professionals may be able to provide you with advice on handling the transition from college to the professional world and those at higher levels have a broader perspective and can often speak about management’s point of view and work expectations. Here are some tips as you begin this process: Be professional. Arrive a few minutes early. Prepare several questions in advance of the meeting or call. If a face-to-face meeting is not possible, arrange a phone call or zoom. Always off er to be the one to call or send the Zoom invite. Listen. Allow yourself to hear both the challenges and op portunities of a given career while trying to read between the lines. There are pluses and minuses to any fi eld. Go in with an open mind and ask thoughtful questions. Follow your contact’s lead. If your contact off ers to give you a tour or have you speak to someone else at their organiza tion, great! If they seem hurried and wrap up a bit early, do not take it personally. They may have been given a pressing assign ment just before you arrived and need to get working on it. Ask for feedback. Show your contact a draft of your re sume and ask if they would be able to provide feedback. Ask questions like “How easy is it to read?” “What skills or knowl edge am I missing if I decide to work in this fi eld?” “Would you interview me if you had an open entry-level position?” Show gratitude. Don’t overstay your allotted time. Grab a business card before you go and send them a thank you note/ email thanking them for their advice, referrals, and time. Evaluate. How did you do? Were your networking skills up to par? How can you do better next time? Did you like what you heard? Do you have a better understanding of what’s involved, the organization and your potential fi t in it? Stay in touch. Ask your contact if it’s acceptable for you to keep them up to date on your job/internship search. If you come across a relevant article or book about their industry in the media or a course, share it. If something exciting is happening with their employer, send them a quick email. If they suggested you do something or speak with someone and you did, send a brief update. This is an excellent way to nurture your network, which is essential. Utilize the Center for Career Development! Not sure how to find folks in the fi eld you are interested in? Have an informational interview scheduled and want to talk to a professional about it? Don’t know where to start? The CCD is here to help! Schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor on Handshake to discuss how to make networking work for you! Now that we’ve covered some helpful hints, I want to speak to a personal anecdote that I have had with networking as evidence of just how beneficial it is! I connected with an alum through the HCNetwork website who was a Neonatal Nurse at the Boston Medical Center and in graduate school to become a Nurse Practitioner. After connecting with her, I was able to schedule a day to shadow her at her place of work and get insight into what it is like to work as a nurse in her unit and at Boston Medical. The experience opened my eyes and confirmed my desire to continue in the career path I had chosen for myself once I got to college. Not only was I able to immerse myself in her line of work for a day, but I was also able to learn new things about the industry, her experience at Holy Cross and after graduating, as well as tips and information I had not known before shadowing. Getting connected to an alum on the HCNetwork website is an important part of networking as it will allow students to connect one-on-one with someone who has had similar experiences in college but new experiences in their line of work. It will allow students the opportunity to create connections for future endeavors.