‘Happy Hour’ Event Highlights Networking Skills


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Career Services on the Central Campus hosted a workshop where participants practiced engaging with potential employers in common social settings.

The office of Career Services on San Jacinto College Central Campus hosted a crowd of over 40 students during the fourth annual Professional Networking Happy Hour on March 21 where participants learned to apply networking skills to a wide range of situations and venues.

Toni Lerch, Coordinator of Career Services, said the essence of successful networking is the formation of real human connections.

“Professional networking is about building relationships and trust, not just swapping business cards,” Lerch said.

During the workshop, students learned the Do’s and Don’ts of properly shaking hands and holding conversations while juggling food and beverages, a scenario common to social networking settings. During an elevator pitch exercise, the hosts emphasized that confidence is key to selling oneself to a prospective employer, as is having a goal in mind before approaching him or her. Also, students practiced active listening techniques by talking for one minute, listening for another minute, and then proceeding to engage in a conversation with their exercise partner. 

Lerch stressed the importance of workshops like the Networking Happy Hour in preparing students for their future careers.

“This event benefits our students by helping them to develop some of those critical attributes they need to build and improve their ability to navigate the job market once they’re ready to venture out,” she said.

Moreover, Lerch said her favorite part of the workshop is seeing the information “click” with students and knowing they are gaining valuable information that will help them succeed with potential employers.

“Networking is a hard skill to develop,” she said, “It’s scary to put yourself out there and learn to openly talk to employers about yourself, what you have to offer, and what you’re seeking.”