It’s who you know

Networking proves a useful tool in the job world


Maggie Kaspura | WITH PERMISSION

Alumni chat at an Associated Alumnae and Alumni of the Sacred Heart meeting in Nov. 2018 at Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago. All alumni of Sacred Heart schools have access to AASH upon graduation.

While a successful career relies upon knowledge and competence, having the right network of people to pull from may be an even bigger factor in determining one’s professional life.

“Fostering connections is huge,” Lara June Jordan (’06), Founder of LJJ&CO, a company aimed to help grow businesses through strategic marketing and personal branding, said. “Now in the social media age, you can foster connections super easily on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.”

Networking is not only essential for small startups to get on their feet but is also beneficial for any individual looking for career or personal guidance, according to Jordan. Eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking, according to a LinkedIn survey.

Small things such as liking someone’s post or commenting “Happy Birthday” can go a long way, according to Jordan.

“In networking you have to give, give, give and not keep tabs on what you give others and what they have done for you,” Jordan said. “You never know when it’s going to come back
to you.”

With an increasingly digital world filled with platforms like LinkedIn, aimed to make networking as easy as possible, making connections has expanded beyond in-person interactions, according to Jordan.

Digital marketing tactics, such as email and social media, led senior Natalia Varni to her modelling career.

“I was on Facebook and saw this agency called Numa Models that was scouting for models, so I sent them an email with my pictures,” Varni said. “They got back to me, and I signed
with them.”

Varni has since left the agency but uses her own networking strategies to further her modelling career. She maintains a modelling Instagram and regularly submits online applications to different agencies.

“It’s a very competitive industry,” Varni said. “I stay friendly because you want a good reputation, but I’m professional and straight to the point.”

Creating and maintaining networks can be difficult in the corporate world as well, according to Jordan.

“There’s such a discrepancy in who has access to networks needed to get a company on its feet,” Jordan said. “Unfortunately, in Silicon Valley, groups are really marginalized by their network, so if you grow up in a different kind of a community, you may not have access to the venture capitalists that graduate from Ivy League schools.”

Although networking can take years, all Sacred Heart students graduate with access to the Associated Alumnae and Alumni of the Sacred Heart, a 40,000-member network that holds events to promote Sacred Heart connections.

“AASH is a way to connect, to reconnect, and to establish new connections with people who come from a background similar to yours,” Maggie Kaspura, National Office Director of AASH, said. “Our main mission is to keep people together and to make sure that we all stay connected to our Sacred Heart background.”

The network maintains a database of graduates’ contact information to send to new alumni attending the same university and can even help students find housing if they have an internship far from their campus or home, according to Kaspura.

AASH also provides older alumni easy connections for professional advancement or personal advice.

“Once you have access to these contacts you can call somebody in a new place you are living and ask, ‘What are the best schools for my kids?’, ‘What neighborhood should I live in,’ or, ‘Do you have a pediatrician’s name?” Kaspura said.

Jordan, who has attended several AASH events, says she encourages others to spread their networks and not be afraid to reach out to new people.

“It’s great to have people in your network who are interested in the things you’re interested in,” Kaspura said. “At the same time, though, it’s important to meet people who are not just similar to you, so you are open to more opportunities.”