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The secret sauce to enhancing your professional network

Professional networking with alumni Kejia Patterson’15 and Aidan Whinnery ’16

The Business and Entrepreneurship Career Channel held a networking session on Monday, February 1 as part of the Career Accelerator and in preparation for the 35th Annual Econ Day(s) events. We were joined by alumni Kejia Patterson’15 and Aidan Whinnery’16. Kejia was able to share how she’s used her professional network to navigate opportunities in the nonprofit and higher education world. She’s currently a Research Project Manager at MIT Media lab. She offered some advice for international students as well. Aidan has used his network to explore new job roles in the health care industry. Aidan is currently a Customer Success Manager with Health Catalyst. Both emphasized the value of activating the Beloit College alumni network!

Kejia and Aidan shared some general rules for networking.

  • Whether you realize it or not, you already have a network. These are connections with family, friends, and faculty and staff at Beloit College. You just have to start the conversation!
  • Informational interviews are a great way to start the conversation. These are incorporated into some economics courses; contact Channel Coordinator Prof. Laura Grube for details on “how to”
  • Reaching out for a conversation is the first step; also recognize that staying in touch – providing updates to past supervisors, faculty – is valuable. Stay on their radar, you never know when an opportunity may come about

We were able to put these general rules into practice by considering two student cases: one student who is seeking a summer internship and another who is a senior applying for full-time jobs.

In addition to looking for postings on indeed, glass door, and Handshake, remember to (1) reach out to key people in your network (like your academic advisor and other mentors at Beloit!) to let them know that you’re looking for internships/jobs, (2) follow-up with past supervisors to give an update, and (3) use LinkedIn, specifically the Beloit College alumni network on LinkedIn, to find alumni who may be able to help you in your search.

For more information on using the Beloit College network on LinkedIn, join us on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. CST for a conversation with Lea Krohn’05 and Nate Fair’99.

Laura Grube
February 03, 2021

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