A Guide to Finding and Using Solid Networking Resources for Your Career

Written by Brad GambleAdam Grossman

As co-founders of The Selling Factory, they work daily to coach students to land their dream job. 

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The transition from academia to the professional market can be daunting. Many young professionals face the challenge of building a successful career path. In this competitive landscape, networking is a top priority.

Networking plays a pivotal role in career development. Your connections can lead to valuable opportunities, insights, and support.

Are you eager to make your mark in the professional market? Keep reading to learn how to leverage networking resources like a pro.

Set Clear Career Goals

A college degree doesn’t guarantee finding a job right after college. Research shows that around 53% of graduates do not have a job in their field of study. The average college student takes three to six months to secure a job after graduation. 

This reality highlights the importance of planning early. Define your career path. This can increase your chances of finding relevant employment right after college. Setting clear career goals is essential for college students and recent graduates. 

Establish both short-term and long-term career objectives. This gives you a sense of direction and purpose in your job search. Aligning these goals can enhance your career networking efforts and job prospects.

Aligning Goals with Your Industry

When setting career goals, it’s crucial to consider the realities and demands of your chosen industry. Research your potential career sectors. This helps you understand roles, career paths, and skill sets required for success.

Enabling Early Job Opportunities through Goal Setting

As you can see, early career goal setting is a step toward long-term career success. It helps you to focus and define what you want and creates the foundation for thriving in your industry. You become better equipped to handle challenges or find job opportunities after school. 

Here’s how goal setting can help this process:

Focused Networking

Setting goals allows you to identify the professionals you need to connect with in your industry. These valuable connections can offer insights, mentorship, and potential job leads.

Targeted Skill Development

Knowing your career goals helps you focus on developing the specific skills and expertise valued in your industry. This targeted skill-building makes you a competitive candidate for industry-specific roles.

Tailored Job Search

So a clear career path to tailor job searches. This way, you can target positions and companies aligned with your goals. You’ll save time and effort by focusing on opportunities that fit your aspirations.

Proactive Internships and Experiences

Early planning enables you to seek internships or coops that align with your goals. These practical experiences enhance your resume and show your commitment to the industry.

Prepare for Networking Success

After defining your career goals, it’s time to start your networking journey. Preparation is key to making a lasting impression on your prospects.

You want your contacts to see you as a serious professional. They should know you are eager to learn, grow, and thrive in your chosen industry. 

Here are some essential steps to ensure you’re well-prepared for networking success.

Improve Your Soft Skills

Soft skills are valuable in the professional world. They also play a crucial role in networking. Soft skills determine how effectively you can communicate, collaborate, and build relationships.

Practice active listening and effective verbal and written communication. Be clear, concise, and confident when expressing your ideas and experiences. Develop empathy and the ability to understand and relate to others’ emotions and perspectives.

Familiarize yourself with appropriate networking etiquette. This includes making eye contact, offering a firm handshake, and expressing gratitude. 

Crafting an Effective Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is an introduction that highlights your skills, experiences, and career goals. It should be brief, lasting about 30 seconds-the length of an elevator ride-hence the name. Crafting an effective elevator pitch allows you to introduce yourself with confidence.

Here are some tips for creating a compelling elevator pitch:

  • Start with an attention-grabbing statement that highlights your passion or expertise
  • Mention your key skills, achievements, and what sets you apart from others in your field
  • Tailor your pitch to align with your career goals and industry
  • Rehearse your elevator pitch until it feels natural and polished

Polishing Your Resume and Online Presence

Your resume and online presence are critical components of your professional image. Networking contacts are likely to review your resume and online profiles. This is to gain insights into your background and qualifications.
Ensure that both are up-to-date, polished, and aligned with your career goals.


Tailor your resume to highlight relevant experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Use clear and concise language, and focus on quantifiable achievements.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn attracts plenty of professionals looking to connect. Optimize your LinkedIn profile by including:

  • A professional photo
  • A well-crafted summary
  • Details of your education, work experiences, and skills

Engage with industry-relevant content and join relevant groups to enhance your visibility.

Take Advantage of Your Networking Opportunities 

Take advantage of networking opportunities during your time as a student. This can benefit your career development. Utilizing student work opportunities can open doors to various possibilities.

Networking Events and Career Fairs on Campus

Attend networking events and career fairs on campus. This provides a unique chance to connect with potential employers and industry professionals.

Also, engage with recruiters and representatives from different companies. Their distinct perspective can offer valuable insights and potential job offers.

Engaging with Alumni Networks

Connecting with alumni who have already navigated the professional world can be helpful. They can offer guidance, share their experiences, and provide valuable career advice. You can find alumni networks through online platforms and networking events.

Leveraging College Career Services

Career advisors can assist in matching your skills with relevant job opportunities. They can also help polish your resume and interview skills.

Check the career services department for information about upcoming job fairs. Also, stay updated on employer presentations and networking workshops catered to your interests.

Getting an Internship or Co-op

Internships or co-op opportunities can provide invaluable hands-on experience in your chosen field. They allow you to:

  • Apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations
  • Build essential skills
  • Establish professional connections

These experiences can enhance your resume and make you more competitive in the job.

Find Networking Resources

Leveraging the right networking resources is the golden thread that weaves success together. Elevate your growth with strategic connections and unique opportunities. 

Want to use your network to stand out as a job candidate? Join our Actionable Networking Workshop to land your dream job.

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.


Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.


Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!


Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.


Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.


Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.


Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.


Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.


Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!


Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!


Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.


Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led Slingshotfund.org to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.


Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.