Watching the sunset from the skyboxes in Neyland Stadium, more than 40 juniors and seniors attended "Networking at Neyland" Tuesday night. Organized by Career Services, UT Alumni Association and UT Athletics, representatives from 55 organizations gathered to meet with the students in the West Club at the stadium.
Erin Harvey, a career counselor at Career Services, hopes students will successfully implement the networking tools they have learned.
"I hope it really is a good time for them to practice these type of skills," Harvey said. "As a professional you need to have good networking skills ... to maintain ... your career, not to just get that first job."
Elizabeth Pallardy, a consultant for the College of Communication and Information, along with the College of Arts and Sciences, agrees with Harvey.
"I hope (students) both learn how to network and what networking is. I think a lot of people are afraid of it," Pallardy said. "To learn what it is and really how effective it can be and really a chance to practice that. I think often we hear about (networking) or we might learn about it, but the chance to immediately go practice (networking) will help kind of make it a reality. The reason we do events like this (is that we know) networking is the number one way people get jobs."
Before moving to West Club, Career Services counselors gave networking tips for success. The counselors discussed topics such as the importance of getting your name out, the importance of follow-ups and effectively communicating your goals to the people you talk to. This event included hors d'ouevres, so small details such as thinking about which hand to hold your plate in were also discussed.
"Professionalism is always key," Pallardy said. "If you don't act professional and respectful you're not going to get anywhere from that networking contact."
Harvey said she believes that the follow up is the most important thing to remember after the event is over.
"I would say persistence and that follow up piece (are most important), because these employers will meet hundreds of student if they're here for this and the job fair," Harvey said. "Its really the ones that can come up with a way to follow up and maintain that network and uphold it ... maybe they didn't get the job now, but will be thought of later for a position. Harvey also says that finding a way of standing out will make you more memorable to potential employers.
"Just thinking about a unique way to stand out in a follow up ... just (remember) that they are meeting a lot of people, so (think about) what will make you stand apart now in years or months and weeks to come," she said.
Pallardy stressed the importance of keeping an open mind when talking with people during the event.
"Even if the person you are talking to isn't in the exact industry you're interested in ... you never know who you are going to meet and what kind of connections they'll have," she said.