Professional Networking 101: Students and Alumni Get Inside Tips from Etiquette Trainer

By Purnell T. Cropper | March 20, 2012

By Michael Schwartz ’14

To prepare for and advance their careers, students should understand how to network with others—not just online but in-person as well. Arcadia University alumna and certified etiquette trainer Gail Madison ’72 stressed the importance of face-to-face connections at Professional Networking 101, an annual event hosted by Arcadia’s Office of Career Development.

Madison led more than 50 students and alumni through the paces during her interactive presentation in the Commons Great Room, guiding the audience through best practices and discussing the strategic advantages of being an efficient networker.

“Networking is changing so much with social media and LinkedIn and you need to have the experience,” said Madison. “You need to have the information, and if you don’t go to events like this where you have experts teach what the latest trends are, you can spend an exhaustive amount of time trying to research it on your own, and somehow it’s much harder to learn if you’re just reading it off the Internet than if you’re actually involved in the doing. You’ve got to participate in order to understand what you’re really doing.”

Mike Hertel, Director of Career Development at Arcadia University, was encouraged by the audience turnout. “The biggest thing we are shooting for is not only to provide networking opportunities but to teach [students and alumni] strategies, tactics and professional etiquette for networking effectively, so that this is something they can carry into future networking opportunities and be able to succeed,” he said.

“Ultimately we have events like this to help students feel comfortable walking up and shaking hands and networking with someone,” said Cynthia Nichols, Employee Relations Coordinator. “Without events like this, students feel might feel unprepared or they might not know what to say, so these types of events allow them the opportunity to practice.”

Jobin Jacob ’13 appreciated the chance to build relationships with Arcadia alumni. “I learned that our Alumni Association is very strong and that they encourage the current students to continue that legacy,” said Jacob.  “It was great meeting alumni and I love the atmosphere of it.”

Connell Hennessey ’12 was happy to brush up on networking skills that will help his career. “I’m here to gain a solid base in my networks and expand what I know so that once I leave Arcadia I can hopefully have my foot in the door someplace and get a nice, solid job.”

Photography by Jordan Richards ’15