Grow Your Network
Networking is about building relationships and community. It involves sharing your story, interests and goals with people who have similar professional interests. Start by talking to your classmates, peers, advisors and faculty. Reach out to people working in the fields you're interested in. They can be a great resource and oftentimes welcome conversations with students. Here are some resources to help you get started.
- What is professional networking?
- Have career conversations with professionals to learn more about career possibilities.
- Introduce yourself with your elevator pitch.
- Invite a meeting with professionals using business emails.
- Network online using LinkedIn.
- Explore additional virtual and in-person networking sites.
Building your network of professionals is essential for your career development and job search. Your network can help you discover career pathways and the skills you need to get there. They can also help you find opportunities that might be a good fit for you and make introductions with people in the organization. You have a strong professional network at Cal State LA. Alumni and our employer partners are eager to connect with you. The resources below can help you get started.
One of the best ways to begin a conversation with professionals in a field you're interested in is by asking them questions. Ask about their pathways and the skills required in the position. Career advisors provide these resources to help you get started.
- Cal State LA Alumni Mentoring Program - Connects you with alumni who can talk about potential career options and professional development.
- Informational Interviews (handout) - List of questions to ask for career exploration and networking.
- Roadtrip Nation Documentaries (videos) – see how people like you found work that they love.
The elevator pitch is a short professional introduction when you describe your professional brand. Think of your professional brand as a way to activate your personal mission statement. Meaning, a way to bring your personal mission statement to “life” and in a way that combines your personal and professional self.
- Building a Professional Brand: Your Professional Journey at Cal State LA (presentation)
- Develop Your Professional Brand (handout) - use this guide to create your professional brand statement.
- Professional Brand Rubric (handout) - use this to evaluate how you can improve your brand statement.
If you're starting the conversation through email or LinkedIn messaging, these resources can help you draft your message.
Start by creating a strong online professional profile.
Then, use these strategies to start networking online.
Handshake (website) – A Cal State LA online site where employers recruit college students and recent grads.
LinkedIn (website) – An international professional networking site where companies post job opportunities and connect with college students and alumni.
Employer Info Sessions – These are in-person and virtual sessions that the Career Center hosts to connect you with employers. Events are on Handshake.
Networking Events – Networking events such as conferences and career fairs connect you with professionals in your major and future career. Events are on Handshake and offered by professional associations in your academic and career discipline.
Career advisors and coordinators can help with self and career exploration, career planning, internships, career networking, résumé and interview skills, and employment searches. We offer group and individual appointments.