Internship and Career Services (ICS) hosted its semi-annual Networking Night on March 2. The event had food, fun, and provided an environment fit for networking. However this is not your typical monotonous job fair. The purpose of Networking Night is to help students learn the importance of networking and to receive tips and strategies on how to do so effectively.

Career Advisor Nicole Brooks coordinated Networking Night and added some new changes to make the event more interactive. Students and employers engaged in small group discussion and an activity that asked participants to stand if they knew someone in a certain field, such as theater, education, finance, etc.

“We wanted to express the point that you never know who the person you are speaking with may know in your field,” said Brooks. “That person’s spouse, brother, or best friend may be just the person you need to talk to!”

Senior political science major Sam Hyer first heard about Networking Night from a career advisor at ICS, Jennifer McConnell. Hyer said the event gave him an opportunity to meet with people from companies he was previously unfamiliar with while providing him the opportunity to hone his networking skills.

Hyer had previously set up an interview with Northwestern Mutual before Networking Night and found out they were going to be at the event. He used this as an opportunity to make a connection with the company and felt this really gave him a leg up on the day of the interview.

Freshman business major Kelly Borter also attended the event and found it very beneficial. She said, “I would definitely recommend other underclassmen to attend networking nights because it’s a great experience and the perfect environment to learn how to get comfortable with networking.”

Employers attend this event to help students expand their professional network, and may also have jobs and internships they are looking to fill. However, having an open position is not a requirement for employers to attend.

While many of the employers are looking for junior and senior students to fill internships and entry level positions, some will offer other opportunities such as part-time jobs or shadowing experiences.

Borter said, “the representative of Target Corporation wrote down his email and phone number so that I could keep in contact with him for any questions that I had, and also wanted to look into programs that he could offer me as a freshman.”

A common misconception is that ICS sponsored events are for upperclassmen only; however, students of all grade levels and majors are encouraged to attend. Whether you are a freshman looking to develop networking skills, or a senior wanting to utilize the skills you already have, Networking Night is the place for you!

To learn more about the importance of networking click here.

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