Get to Know Your Network (and Let Them Get to Know You) – SJSU

Published: November 13, 2020 by Gillian Collins

Effort produces an excellent network. The network segment is always a bit of an obstacle. It can be embarrassing to turn to someone to be a mentor or join a group that caters to your career aspirations. Trust in a networking career begins when you take the initiative to get to know “your network” as individuals just like you.

‘Write something interesting about you’

Consider the beginning of a new semester, and the first discussion question assignment in all of your courses: Introduction. Your name, your location, where you are in the program, why you are taking the course and something interesting about you. You need to have your canvas counterparts know Who you are in the course, but it’s “something interesting” makes them Remember Who are you. This activity is a great opportunity to find others with whom you have something in common. You need this practice because the best way to build the kind of authentic connection that can last a lifetime is to start the conversation.

Does your ‘internet’ work?

When creating networks, it is necessary to be able to read the room. Because things have become cyber-focused, over conference centers, you have an advantage and a disadvantage:

  • advantage: “Networking” does not even require you to turn on your webcam. You do not have to chase after someone who is part of the organization you want to specialize in, or a university librarian who has read everything about him – they are online! And you can network as time allows.

  • drawback: You have no human connection. Face-to-face events will not return soon, so the same student you want to get to know better is often just another face in an escape room. The slight fraternity that may develop with a fellow participant in the LIS annual conference is meanwhile a thing of the past, and personal coffee sessions where we may get to know each other better are usually replaced (again, for now) with a Zoom session.

Given that this is the moment we are all in, you still need to build your community of colleagues / professional network. So what are some of the best ways to do this?

What’s your sign?

Yes, the clichéd collection line is useful – but we are not discussing astrology. In this context, ask yourself: If someone saw you again, with what would he associate you? Something special about you? Something you both have in common. What authentic part of yourself would you be willing to share?
be late Self-confidence can be difficult, Play Sure can hurt. but Be sure that you are yourself
Is natural. To help you get started:

  • Share your passions. Aside from your resume, your LinkedIn profile and all the other career-focused things, you have your life. Love baseball? Derby roller? Writing steampunk fiction? Others do it too! Are you someone who has an art, like knitting, painting, cat training? It is interesting! As long as it is appropriate to share with people who can work with you. Do not post anything that you would not post in a discussion on canvas. Other than that, let others see what brings you joy, laughter or meaning to your smile.

  • Consider your current networks. Clubs, interest groups in social media, links on LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter … all the places you go to find the people you want to meet, already know or are involved in the activities you enjoy. Are these groups of interest to you? Are you interested in the people you communicate with in these groups? Do you communicate with other group members one on one? Do you mess with them at all? If you are unsure, or the answer is no, plan to reach out to at least one friend you already know and one you do not know, weekly if possible, to create a habit of continuing to build your profile in the professional community. Start the conversation.

  • Authenticity and consistency are key. Connect your passions or hobbies (what is your “sign”) with a consistent level of interaction and involvement between your professional groups. You have created an effective way to maintain (and build) your network of relationships regardless of current constraints. You can find an opportunity to ‘introduce’ yourself anew, or attend the next digital event with a whole new approach. Show off your signature craft.

Let your “mark” shine!

You are, at the end of the day, more than a student. When you think of the old and terrible “tell me about yourself” question from job interviews, turn it into a different scenario. Getting to know yourself, and how to help others remember you, is a great way to get to know – and grow – your network.

A quick jot from Gillian

I wanted to write this for two reasons. The first is to emphasize that a network, as a professional, thrives when you connect with those in the group. People remember you when you start a conversation. People will start conversations with you. It is an achievement and shows that you are a private person and not another name on the list of friends.

The second reason is more personal. We need supportive and genuine connections to others. This is the digital age, in terms of the plague. People are social by nature, but our social life is limited. COVID-19 is global and local. We all work together, to keep ourselves and others safe. It is important, admirable, and shows community solidarity with the fighting in Corona.

But there is still an emptiness when it comes to maintaining relationships that provide support. Consider the issue of finding common ground with people in professional networks as making friends. Ask them about themselves. But, remember, they are the people who have the potential to recommend you to a future employer. You can be the person to recommend them as well.

I know it’s not easy to become a social butterfly overnight. I know that life, in general, always poses an external challenge to you. All the plans you can make for one day can be interrupted with unexpected car trouble, a drive to the car shop and five hours in the lobby. Our best plans are subject to the whims of the universe.

I urge you to remember how much you are worth as a person. You are interesting and knowledgeable in things that make you exceptional. People want to know you as a friend and also as a professional. I know I would. Right now, there are obstacles in digital gaps and unforeseen circumstances that rob us of energy.

I want you to be comfortable doing baby steps. You want to take the opportunity to get to know other people at a level that has a positive effect on friendship. By doing so, you keep yourself and others motivated.

Additional resources

Selected career opportunities

  • Archivist / Post Production Support. Where the Buffalo Roam (WTBR). Standing at a distance. San Francisco, CA Filed onLinkedIn.
  • Emergency education, library programming consultant. A place to read. Standing at a distance. Submit on

    Company Website

Mark your diary!

Cafecito con Barbara Miller hosted by REFORMA SJSU iSchool Student & Alumni Group

  • date: Thursday, November 19, 2020
  • time: 17:30 – 18:30 (Pacific time)
  • a place: Sign up
    To attend this zoom event

A library tour around the world led by ALASC

  • date: Wednesday, November 18, 2020
  • time: 18:00 – 19:00 (Pacific time)
  • a place: Sign up
    To attend this zoom event


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