By Colleen Lewis, Events Coordinator, University Career Center

“The old adage, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’ has perhaps never been more true. Today, some estimates suggest that up to 70 percent of all jobs are not published on publicly available job search sites, and research has long shown that anywhere from half to 80 percent of jobs are filled through networking.”CNBC, 2020

Networking is simply the process of meeting new people and showing genuine interest in who they are and what they do. It’s the natural process of helping one-another through sharing information, ideas, contacts and tips. But how do you even begin to find people to network with during COVID times? That’s where the University Career Center’s Connect virtual networking series can help!

What’s a “Connect”?

“Connects” are virtual speed dating-style, meet-and-greet events curated to introduce students to professionals in industries and companies you want to learn more about. At these Zoom events you’ll hang out in a breakout room with two or three other students for the run of the event—which means you’ll also walk away with some new friends who have a common career interest! The professionals attending will join your room for 8–10 minutes at a time, allowing for introductions and a short Q and A, then will move to the next room. The fast pace makes for a lively and informative 90 minutes. At the end of the evening, you’ll be provided with the contact information for all of the attending organizations so you can connect with them on LinkedIn or reach out about a specific job opportunity they mentioned.

Why should I “Connect”?

Curious about a specific career field, industry, or company that sounds interesting on paper? Attending a Connect can introduce you to companies and careers you may not be familiar with and show you unexpected opportunities within your field of interest—like an internship you didn’t know existed, a scoop on an entry-level job that is being posted soon, or a cool role you’ve never thought about pursuing. Networking with professionals who have been working in related fields can give you insights you may not otherwise have access to, as well as tips on what you can be doing now to set yourself up for a great career. Connects are also a great space to build your confidence for future networking events and job interviews by practicing introducing yourself to others—your elevator pitch. Over the course of the night, you’ll introduce yourself a lot. Use this as an opportunity to practice refining what it is you want employers to know about you and your career goals that will make them excited to see your resume pop up in Handshake for their next opening.

When can I “Connect” in 2021?

There are four Connect events that you can attend this winter and spring. Can’t pick just one? Come to them all! You can even check out the employers who are coming ahead of time by registering in Handshake. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

Health and Science Connect
Thursday, January 28, 2021; 4:00–5:30 p.m.

Students interested in careers in healthcare, life sciences, and associated fields

Business Connect
Tuesday, February 23, 2021; 4:00–5:30 p.m.

Students interested in careers in sales, marketing, business development or administration, and leadership/management development

Tech Connect
Thursday, March 4, 2021; 4:00–5:30 p.m.

Students interested in careers in information technology, data, and analytics

Culture Connect
Tuesday, May 4, 2021; 4:00–5:30 p.m.

Students interested in careers in communications, entertainment, and the arts