Charlie Opatz, graduate intern
CSB/SJU Career Services
To the uninitiated, the idea of networking can seem intimidating. Although the liberal arts education at CSB/SJU prepares your child for success for life and for a career, networking is an increasingly important part of a successful job and internship search.
What is networking?
Networking is simply talking to people. It means developing and nurturing relationships with family, friends, alumnae, alumni, employers (present and former), faculty, coaches, and others to learn about job and internship opportunities. However, simple is not always easy.
Why is networking intimidating?
It's humbling to start conversations with strangers. We suggest changing "stranger" to "business relationship" to make it easier to begin building these important connections. And, like most things in life, the more we practice and prepare for something new, the less intimidating and easier it will become.
Practice and prepare
Most of us are not natural networkers, but, with practice, it will get easier. At CSB/SJU, Career Services offers many opportunities throughout the year for students to practice networking, including Career EXPO (November), Minnesota Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair (February), weekly Career Exploration Series and numerous other events both on and off campus. We encourage all students to attend these events and to come prepared with a short introduction of themselves. This introduction, or "elevator speech," should be no longer than a 30- to 45-second personal statement that includes their name, major, career interests and other pertinent information - enough to leave an impression with the business contact.
Professional networking sites
Traditionally, networking referred to meeting people face-to-face, shaking their hands, and introducing one's self. Although this remains one of the most effective ways to build a network, networking has expanded to cyber space. Websites such as LinkedIn (www.Linkedin.com) are fast becoming the way to network. LinkedIn.com is the world's largest professional network where your son or daughter can connect with business contacts, exchange ideas, and expand their network with professionals. Within LinkedIn, you can belong to certain groups to help grow your network such as the CSB/SJU Career Connection group which is open to juniors, seniors, alumnae/i and employers. It just takes a few minutes to create a profile and begin to network.
Where to start?
One idea for your son or daughter to consider would be to practice networking at family events or other gatherings this summer. No, I don't mean asking their uncle for a job, but rather getting more comfortable walking up to friends and relatives and starting conversations. The more they practice these impromptu conversations, the easier and less intimidating networking becomes.
The Career Services' website (www.csbsju.edu/career) has additional networking tips and many other valuable resources available to both students and parents.
Encourage your son or daughter to leave their comfort zone and begin to practice networking skills by building their network today. It will provide them with the foundation for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities well into the future.
An inaugural group of 81 students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University were accepted into the Theta of Minnesota Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at CSB/SJU. The students were formally initiated at a ceremony April 27, at Alumnae Hall, Haehn Campus Center, CSB. A total of 72 seniors and nine juniors were selected by faculty members at CSB and SJU who are members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society, which was founded in 1776. More information: http://www.csbsju.edu/News/Phi-Beta-Kappa-2010.htm
The 10th annual Celebrating Scholarship and Creativity Day was held April 28, at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. The day recognized and honored the achievements of students who have undertaken significant research, scholarship or creative works during the past year. Over 500 research projects and presentations from all academic disciplines were highlighted throughout the day. More information: http://www.csbsju.edu/News/Scholarship-and-Creativity-Day-2010-.htm
Twelve students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University were honored for exemplary leadership at the 2010 Inspiring Leaders Recognition Banquet April 18, at Guild Hall, SJU. The event, sponsored by the Student Activities and Leadership Development Program, was attended by more than 270 people, including students, parents, faculty, staff and members of the monastic communities. There were 68 nominees for the awards, the highest number of nominees in the history of the awards. In addition to the awards, 162 certificates of leadership were distributed. This is the highest number of certificates awarded in the four-year history of the Inspiring Leadership Certificate Program. For more information: http://www.csbsju.edu/News/Student-Leader-Awards.htm
Does your son or daughter receive scholarships? Your purchases at the CSB/SJU Bookstores help all our students, with 100% of all bookstore profits directed to CSB/SJU scholarships and campus improvements. Textbooks for fall semester will be available to purchase online from the CSB/SJU Bookstores starting July 1. Thank you for supporting CSB/SJU Bookstores. http://www.csbsju.edu/Bookstore/Stick-With-Us.htm