Effective networking is all about building trust, sharing information, and creating a positive foundation for future interactions. Networking can happen anywhere and is often most constructive when you least expect it - meeting the parents of a friend, making a new acquaintance at a wedding, talking to a seatmate while carpooling or flying, etc. These are all opportunities to grow your network of professional relationships. Below, we've included information and tools to help you connect with alumni and make the most of in-person interactions.
Starting a Conversation
To begin, ask a question about the person or the general situation. If you're trying to engage in an already-happening conversation, ask, "May I join you?"
Pay attention to people as they talk about their life, work, volunteer activities, and current events. Often you can pick up clues about what they value and enjoy. If you notice a key word, find a way to bring that topic back into the conversation.
Refrain from only talking about yourself; ask "why" or "how" questions (instead of yes-or-no questions) and engage actively with the answers.
Know Yourself & Your Goal
Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Vague questions will not work as well as specific ones, e.g. how to break into a particular company, find professional contacts, or develop job/internship leads.
Ending a Conversation
To exit gracefully, say, "Thank you for your insights/thoughts/direction. I need to move on to another conversation." Then offer to shake hands and ask for a business card. If they don't have a card, ask if you can contact them on LinkedIn or have them write down their name and email.
A pile of business cards and a list of contact names do not do you or your job search much good without active follow-up. Call, send an email or connect on LinkedIn after meeting someone new. In your message, remind your new contact where and how you met them and part of what you discussed.
Find more tips in this helpful guide: Making and Using Your Network.
LinkedIn, a powerful networking tool, allows you to establish a professional internet presence (for free), message and keep track of your connections, research organizations, browse job/internship postings, keep current on industry news, and explore career paths by seeing other people's trajectories. According to a 2013 Social Times article on virtual recruiting, over 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find and vet candidates for open positions.
Visit the SEC blog for posts about starting and updating your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn also provides Student Resources, a series of documents and videos with additional information. Check out the Whitman College University Page to browse the profiles of Whitman alumni/students and join the Whitman College Discussion Groups to connect with other Whitties.
Whitman Connect Alumni Database
Whitman Connect is Whitman's proprietary database of more than 17,000 alumni searchable by location, job title, occupation, major, Greek affiliation, campus groups, and more. Through Whitman Connect, students can research and email alumni who have consented to being contacted. To access the database, students must first read and agree to the Whitman Connect Code of Conduct.
Whitman Hubs by Location
The Whitman Professional Hub program seeks to connect Whitman students and alumni with internships, employers, and networking events. There are currently six established Whitman Hubs across the country.
- Use the Whitman Connect Alumni Database to find more alumni in the New York area.
- New York's Craigslist is always a great site for finding housing, employment, and local information.
- newyork.jobs, part of the us.jobs network, is a searchable database of available opportunities in the New York area.
- ApartmentList.com (New York City)
- Zillow (New York City)
- HotPads (New York City)
- Trulia (New York City)
- Use the Whitman Connect Alumni Database to find more alumni in the Portland area.
- Portland's Craigslist is always a great site for finding housing, jobs, and local information.
- Snag A Job lists job opportunities for part-time jobs, teen jobs, student jobs and summer jobs with great companies throughout Oregon, primarily in the Portland area.
- Campus Point is geared towards helping recent graduates find a job by updating job opportunities and employer information in the Portland area.
- Employment Department: Oregon.gov provides information about the job market, unemployment, career fairs, etc. and works to connect jobseekers with employers in Oregon
- PSU Summer Housing
- Uloop Portland
- Project Login Portland Housing
- ForRent University PSU
- Apartment List Portland
- Zillow (Portland)
- HotPads (Portland)
Healthcare and Outdoor Activities
- Use the Whitman Connect Alumni Database to find more alumni in the Bay area.
- The Bay Area Craigslist is always a great site for finding housing, jobs, and local information.
- CalJobs provides an online job and resume bank for the largest pool of candidates in the state of California. It also provides online job tools, information on insurance, payroll taxes, employment and training services, and more.
- Latitude 38 Housing Services
- UCSF Housing Services
- Rental Guide.com
- Apartment List (SF)
- Summer of Love Residences
- Zillow (San Fransico)
- HotPads (San Fransico)
- Trulia (San Fransico)
Healthcare and Outdoor Activities
- Bay City Guide - Outdoors & Fitness
- Frommers - 10 Best Places to be Outside in and Around SF
- SF Gate - Outdoors
- Healthy San Francisco
- Use the Whitman Connect Alumni Database to find more alumni in the Seattle/Bellevue area.
- Seattle's Craigslist is always a great site for finding housing, employment, and local information.
- The Seattle Networking Guide connects people and companies to Seattle's most vibrant organizations for professional and social networking, civic engagement, volunteering, and strategic community relations.
- NW Jobs provides job listings and resources for folks looking for employment in the Seattle area.
- Campus Point still updates job and employer information focusing on helping recent graduates to find a job.
- Work Source is the State of Washington's official site for online employment services. Through its resources you can find a job, get job search help, locate workforce services in your area, access career information and more.
- University of Washington Housing and Food Services
- Seattle University Summer Housing
- Seattle Central CC Housing
- Uloop Washington
- Seattle Sublet
- Apartment List (Seattle)
- Zillow (Seattle)
- HotPads (Seattle)
- Trulia (Seattle)
Healthcare and Outdoor Activities
- Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW)
- Outdoor Fun in the City of Seattle
- Seattle Attractions: What to Do
- Use the Whitman Connect Alumni Database to find more alumni in the Walla Walla area.
- Walla Walla Job Network allows you to search for jobs nationwide as well as locally in our area.
- Hype Walla Walla is a group dedicated to helping young professionals network in Walla Walla
- Valley Transit
- Grape Line
- Walla Walla Farmer's Market
- Housing - ApartmentList.com (Walla Walla) and Zillow and HotPads have apartments and housing information
- Use the Whitman Connect Alumni Database to find more alumni in the D.C. area.
- D.C.'s Craigslist is always a great site for finding housing, employment, and local information.
- Washington Post Jobs provides how-to advice regarding resumes, interviews, and salary negotiations. It also offers a job search tool with regionally specific options, networking groups, and information about career fairs.
- DC Jobs is comprised of a variety of employment websites focusing exclusively on local communities in the DC area.
- Washington Intern Student Housing
- George Washington University Summer Housing
- Catholic University of America Summer Housing
- Apartment List (DC)
- Zillow (DC)
- HotPads (DC)
- Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
- About DC Public Transit
- Guide to Getting Around Washington
- D.C. Parking - How to find Cheap and Legal Parking in D.C.
Do you know of more resources that could help Whitman students and alumni? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!