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Building Your NetworkProfessional success depends in part on the connections you make with other people. The more people you know, the more chances you have to learn about different career fields and job openings.

You already have a “network” – it’s all the people you already know. You can expand your network by getting to know some of the people your friends, family and co-workers know – the people in their networks. These people may be working in jobs or for companies that you’d like to know more about. Until you ask, you won’t know!

Here are some other ways to build your network:

Get Involved on Campus

Join a club or campus organization that interests you. You’ll meet other students, faculty members, staff and community members. Consider taking a leadership role in the club; employers look for this on resumes.

Get Involved in Your Community

Volunteering in the community is a great way to meet people doing the type of work you may want to do. You’ll also gain skills and experience that can be included on your resume. Sometimes volunteering even leads to a paid position.

Use Social Media

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on social media. You can create a free account and then invite others to connect with you to build your network. Recruiters and employers also use LinkedIn to find people to fill job openings.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites can also be used to grow your network. Be aware that employers and recruiters often review these sites to learn more about job applicants. Make sure they aren’t seeing things that would hurt your chances of getting an interview or being hired.

Join Professional Groups

Many occupations have one or more professional groups (also called professional associations, organizations or societies) that employees can join to meet others in the same field and keep up-to-date on trends in their industry. Some have student memberships at a reduced cost to help those just starting their career.