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UMGC Career Connection
Building Your Professional Network 

Raelynn Grasso
By Raelynn Grasso

Although building your professional network can seem like a daunting task, it’s important for your long-term career growth. Not sure how to network? Continue below for tips to help you start your professional networking journey.  

Why do I need to network?

Networking assists with career advancement, increases your knowledge and creative intellect, may generate new business for your company or organization, provides an opportunity to receive a reference or letter of recommendation from a connection, and can make you noticeable when compared to the competition during a job search. 

Networking Mindset and Focus

Engage regularly with your network. Be honest and genuine with your interactions as networking is built upon trust. It’s important to invest in the other person first and remember that networking isn’t an overnight activity, it takes time to build those relationships. 

Start Early

Don’t wait until you need a job to build your network. Whether you are new to a profession, starting a side hustle, or are a seasoned professional, building a network is critical to your overall career success. Check out your local areas for events, join social media groups, and learn how to join UMGC’s student organizations and get connected as a UMGC alumni

Stay Connected

Networking is not a stagnant entity; it is something that needs to be cultivated and nurtured. It is important to grow your network by making new connections and nurturing existing connections. Networking is a two-way street; you must give of your time and expertise and provide meaningful content and interactions when called upon. 

As common and important as networking is, there’s still a lot of misinformation about the activity. Continue below for three common networking myths and their truths instead. 

Networking Myths

Myth: Networking is only for “extroverts” 

Truth: Whether you are comfortable interacting in a large crowd or at a mixer, or prefer one-on-one conversations, you can still network! Just remember to play to your strengths when building your network. 

Myth: Networking is “self-serving” 

Truth: Networking is more about what you have to offer than what you can gain from it. A skilled networker can develop relationships that cut across many sectors that result in opportunities for beneficial collaboration.

Myth: Networking is only for a professional career 

Truth: Networking can be about building and making connections that are outside of a professional setting. Attending networking events is a great way to meet people in your area and also to learn new information for a work environment or your own personal growth and development. 

As you can see, networking is a vital skill for long-term career growth. For more information on how to improve your networking skills, watch the recent webinar Building your Professional Network. And as always, keep in mind UMGC Career Services is available to help you plan and achieve career success. Set up an appointment with a UMGC Career Advising Specialist. 

Raelynn F. Grasso is a Career Advising Specialist at the University of Maryland Global Campus. She has experience leading and providing individual, group, and career counseling, as well as executing and developing programs to enhance college student enrichment. Ms. Grasso’s area of research includes career decision-making, epistemic cognition, self-efficacy, and college student development. She holds a B.S., Psychology from the University of Utah, an M.S., Education Psychology, and is a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.