You walk alone into a room filled with strangers dressed in suits and ties, your nervous fingers fumbling through your business cards. Unfamiliar eyes glance your way and you catch their attention. Now what? Do you know what to do?
With a little practice and a confidence boost, there’s no way you can fail it… Networking! It’s a scary word, but an essential practice as you prepare for a career in your chosen field. Globe University-Appleton’s Accounting and Business Program Chair Alisa DiSalvo has become somewhat of a “networking pro” through the years, but she admits that it’s not easy to overcome the initial fear.
“Networking is terrifying!” she explains. “However, the benefits outweigh the fear. It is intimidating for anyone walking in to a networking event for the first time. Once you start going and meeting people, the fear leaves and relationships begin.”
Mock-Networking on Campus
Since networking is a big fear for most people, every quarter, Alisa asks her students to participate in networking events on campus. She uses her own personal network of business connections during on-campus networking events—a great way for students to become acclimated to the networking culture. Since it begins at their campus, the students are able to feel a little more at ease when it comes to meeting complete strangers. Alisa has been helping the students overcome networking fears since she joined Globe University more than two years ago.
“The only way to build relationships is by networking,” she said. “When a student places themselves out there to meet others in the career field of choice, they are building trust with the person, which creates the relationship. Mentors are built from these relationships and being new to a field, mentors and advocates are essential in getting your foot in the door.”
Everyone Starts Somewhere
Alisa’s professional background includes working with Fortune 500 companies auditing manufacturing processes, trend analysis and transportation cost analysis for large organizations like the State of Ohio Department of Transportation. She’s been teaching at the collegiate level for more than 10 years, and admits that even she still gets a little nervous sometimes.
“Networking has played a vital role in achieving my professional goals,” she said. “No one person can ever know everything or everyone. By being able to network, you build relationships where you may be able to help someone or they can help you.”
Alisa has been able to continue networking to meet people in her career field. As a business professional, she knows that you never truly stop networking—you continue meeting new people that help you grow in your career.
“Being able to reach out to a network connection to discuss goals and to research avenues opens your perspective past your own and into a broader world of options,” she said. “Relationships help you establish credibility in your field and place others in a position to be an advocate for you when you are exploring opportunities.”
When it comes to networking, the opportunities are endless. You never know, it just may help you land the job of your dreams!