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Network effectively

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Networking is an essential part of looking for a job or internship. Your network can be useful for everything from defining your professional goals, looking for industry- or job-specific information and honing your career plan to finding employment opportunities. Here’s some advice on how to network effectively.

10 good reasons to develop your network

1. Get in touch with the market and the business world
2. Hone your career plan
3. Explore different options or ideas
4. Get into a dynamic of meeting people
5. Practice talking about yourself, your experience and your goals
6. Identify recruitment needs before everyone else
7. Leverage word of mouth: professionals in a given industry often look for new staff through contacts before talking to HR
8. Make yourself known and shape a need according to what you have to offer
9. Contact the decision-makers and line managers liable to hire you
10. Invest in the future: you will make yourself known during your job search and build a network that will be useful once you’re on the job (you may have met people from rival companies, for example)

Prepare your strategy

1-Target your contacts: 

List all the contacts who might help you, according to your objectives. Organise your address book and do not forget to save your contacts as you meet them

  • Family and friends of the family
  • Neighbours, tradespeople, doctors, pharmacists, lawyers and notaries met at various stages of your life or through your family
  • Teachers and faculty
  • Former internship supervisors and employers
  • Non-profit organisations you have been involved in (student associations at Sciences Po, professional groups, political groups, etc.)
  • Professionals you have met at fairs, alumni contacts, etc.

2-How to approach your contacts ?

  • It’s always better if you can mention the name of a mutual acquaintance (“Maria Johnson suggested I contact you...”)
  • Opt for a phone call rather than an email
  • However, you might like to send an email beforehand to let the person know you’re going to call
  • Rehearse with someone you trust
  • Prepare your questions carefully according to your objectives

3- Polish your introduction: 

  • Whether you are going to meet a recruiter at a trade fair or contact an alumna by email, your approach must be professional.
  • Your message must be clear and concise so the person understands why you’re contacting them.
  • Explain in a few words who you are and what you expect from the exchange.
  • Listen carefully to catch all the information they give you, but don’t forget to show what you have to offer. 
Pay attention ! Networking is about getting to know relevant people and making yourself known to them, not sending unsolicited CVs en masse. 
Follow up ! about 10 days after you’ve made a contact, you won’t be bothering them, you’ll be showing that you’re motivated. 

4-Enhance your online profile: 

  • The title, your work and non-profit experiences and your education should make a recruiter want to meet you.
  • Detail your skills and achievements and the languages you speak, using the keywords of the industries you’re targeting.
  • Update your profile regularly so that it stays at the top of search results.
  • Your photo must suit the professional requirements of the positions you’re applying for.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask people you know for recommendations! 

Don’t spread yourself too thin
It’s better to target the networks and people relevant to your goals and keep track of them than to have too many irons in the fire.

Work on your personal branding!
Think about the image recruiters will get of you when they type your name into a search engine. What will they find? Watch out for holiday snaps or articles that could give you an unprofessional image. A word of advice: look yourself up online!

Network, network, network!

Online : 

  • LinkedIn is the biggest social network in the world and has become a vital part of any job or internship search. Use the search tool to identify people who may help you, and contact them asking for help or information. Never ask them upfront for a job or an internship; you will be blacklisted immediately. 
  • Keep in contact: posting content and liking and sharing your contacts’ content are good ways to stay visible in your network. 
  • Participate in groups and follow influencers: you will increase your visibility as you highlight your interest in the topic

Offline :

  • Attend all the events (conferences, company presentations, fairs, round-table discussions) organised at Sciences Po 
  • Talk to your instructors,
  • Meet professionals, etc.

Any meetings, informal as well as formal, are a source of information and inspiration for developing your career goals and may help create internship and job opportunities. They can crop up while you’re doing your job survey. 

So don’t forget to talk to the person sitting next to you at your next conference—he or she could be your future employer! 

further information

Last modified 2020-08-20
Victoire est étudiante du master politiques publiques (Ecole d'affaires publiques). Elle a rejoint en janvier 2023 la Direction de l’Engagement de Paris 2024 pour un stage aux côtés des équipes du Label Terre de Jeux 2024. Focus sur ses missions en lien avec les collectivités, pour faire vivre les Jeux dans les territoires.
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