By Wu Yi
AAP staff intern
MINNEPAOLIS (November 4, 2010) – Chinese students at the University of Minnesota were treated to a workshop for last week to highlight the importance of networking in the process of career development. The workshop, organized by the Chinese Career Development Association, brought together three speakers and about 110 students for an hour of enlightening professional development dialogue for students that either be putting the skills to work in China, the United States or other locations around the world.
“This is the best workshop I have ever attended in university,” said Gu, a junior transfer student at the U of MN. “The speakers discussed the problems I am most concerned about, and I will continue attend CCDA events.”
The speakers included two veteran career coaches from the U of MN Careers Office, Mackenzie Sullivan and Xiaoji Zhang, joined with Rui Xiu, a teacher and senior human resource manager for the New Oriental Education and Technology Group, an English learning school in China.
Sullivan offered an overview of the Career Center services that are available to all students and alumni.
Zhang followed with a tailored presentation for Chinese students that do not have a relationship in a foreign country outside of its educational system. She said that “networking” here means making connections with working professionals in their particular field of study.
This is more important than making friends with every person, she added, adding that she is from China and has gone through the job hunting experience in America for herself.
“When looking for a job in America, networking is absolutely cheap and very important for students,” said Zhang in a 10-minute presentation.
She based her presentation in part on her own experience as a professional from
According to Zhang, networking is essential because only 20 percent of job opportunities are posted while the rest are hidden in the market. She said this means most people find a job after being recommended by a professional that has become an associate through networking. In order to efficiently network, Zhang suggested students attend informational interviews and professional events.
As a senior human resources manager with nine years of recruiting experience, Xiu agreed with the importance of networking. He pointed out that companies prioritize the job candidates with a professional recommendation.
In addition, Xiu shared a few stories about job hunting with students which helped them to draw a clear picture of networking.
Xiu added that besides networking it is good to understand and emphasize skill sets and goals to help networking associates, company human resources and job recruiters better understand their potential. He said it is also good to have a good understanding of the company they are interested in, along with the managers who interview them and the jobs they are seeking.
CCDA is a non-profitable student group that officially registered at University of Minnesota. Its primary goal is to build up and maintain a network to aid members with their career development via an internet system and regular events.
CCDA is going to hold a panel discussion between professionals and student members on December 1. For more information call 612-584-8154, email [email protected] and visit online at www.sua.umn.edu/groups/directory/show.php?id=2597.