“Networking is important because, with career paths, it’s not always about what you know, but who you know,” said Matthew Larry ‘16.
Larry didn’t want to believe networking could have such a big impact on his career. He didn’t like the idea and would “shy away from it,” he said.
And Larry’s not alone: Many college students today think that networking is another word for “using people,” according to PC’s Office of Career Development and Student Success.
Instead of talking about networking, the office emphasizes building relationships and encourages students to learn professional conversational skills for business and social settings. The Office of Career Development and Student Success gave students the opportunity to practice these skills at a recent event called Mocktails & Mingling.
During the event, students first reviewed conversation starters and networking techniques with PC’s Career Development staff. They went over need-to-know basics like what to wear and what to say when they first meet a potential future boss.
Then, students went from table to table meeting with alumni who returned to campus. Students and alumni chatted, like they would at a cocktail party, about a topic fresh on students’ minds: how to get their first job after college.
“I felt well-prepared to talk with many different employers,” said junior Katie Ferguson. “I enjoyed putting into practice all the things I have learned when it comes to conversing with potential future employers.”
Students learned about the career world from alumni who work in industries as different as healthcare, banking, and education. Employers ranged from South Carolina Public Radio to Milliken.
“Mocktails & Mingling gave students first-hand experience getting to connect with employers and learn more about companies they may be interested in,” Ferguson said.
“I am grateful that PC has events like this for students.”