Town & Gown:
Networking Happens Every Day
By Dr. William A. Meehan
President, Jacksonville State University
Weekly Column - Town and Gown
It is Saturday afternoon. There is a slight breeze in the air.
You are sitting in Paul Snow Stadium surrounded by bursts of red and white
balloons, uniforms, pompoms, T-shirts and more.
The sound of the Southerners sweeps across the crowd as they play “Stars Fell
You are watching the Gamecocks run the football down the field and cheer
along with the person next to you. You are networking.
Networking is all about forming relationships, and it happens every day
whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
Creating positive relationships, while at the ball game or in line at the
grocery store, can work in your favor by leading to a new job or benefiting a
Recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Labor depict that 70 percent of
all jobs are found through networking, 15 percent through a search firm, 10-12
percent by searching want ads and only 2 percent from sending out resumes.
Sandok and Sandberg, two consultants at the Esquire Group, a legal search and
consulting firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., find networking to be the
number one cause of securing a job.
“More people are hired by being in the right place at the right time than for
any other single reason. But you can’t take advantage of that unless you stay in
contact with your network.”
“Becoming involved with the JSU National Alumni Association offers tremendous
opportunities for our alumni to network through chapter events, receptions and
events on campus,” says director of Alumni Affairs Kaci Ogle.
“Our successful graduates often tell me that they like to hire JSU alumni
because they know each graduate has a very strong work ethic due to the fact
that many of our students work their way through college. At alumni association
events, alumni can not only meet people in their area but they might also meet
someone who could enhance their career.”
Recently, Congressman Mike Rogers spoke to students on our campus about his
education at JSU and career development.
He was the first speaker this fall in a series sponsored by the Career
Placement Services (CPS) called “Making Connections: My Career … My Success … My
Director of CPS, Janet White, says by asking a diverse group of successful
alumni back to speak at JSU will aid students in preparing job strategies and
creating their networking contacts.
She says networking is a winning situation for all who are involved because
people find fulfillment and enjoyment in contributing to another person’s life.
“Helping students gratifies me and satisfies a basic need in my life.”
White strongly believes in the importance of preparation and networking in
order to be successful on the job hunt. She urges students to get involved with
the alumni association and attend as many career fairs as they can find.
CPS is also quick to give out a Strategic Plan of Action (SPA) packet to
relax those who are concerned about finding a job or are unhappy in their
The SPA is a list of 20-25 action steps, complete with networking ideas, to
get motivated and get moving.
At the next football game, get motivated to move into a conversation with the
person sitting next to you, a fellow Gamecock fan.
You never know where a cultivated relationship will lead. As the old Army
tagline says, “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.”
To learn more about Career Placement Services, contact Ms. Janet White by
email, email@example.com or -5092.
Erin Chupp, a graduate assistant in the Office of Marketing and
Communications, contributed to this article.
About William A. Meehan
Dr. William A. Meehan is president of Jacksonville
State University. His column, "Town & Gown," appears in The Jacksonville News.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com
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