Meaningful Connections

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, so how does one go about meeting the right people? How can we use these connections to leverage a career or pursue a passion? Below are four, but not all, of the ways you can effectively network and build relationships that matter.

Hang out with the right people. This does not mean to just seek out the wealthiest, most well-known, big name people or companies. In fact, that may not be your style at all. Find people who are like you and who share the same interests and passions. People who share common attributes will be attracted to the same type of jobs and organizations. These individuals will offer experience and advice that you actually find interesting and may propel your career forward.


Be authentic. Going along with the above advice, know who you are and where you want to be. The more real you are with the people around you, the more likely you are to land a career that aligns with your personality. If you’re not sure what you have to offer yet, take a few personality tests to better showcase that authenticity. Do What You Are, StrengthsQuest and Strong Interest Inventory will all give you further insight into your behavior patterns, work preferences, strengths and weaknesses.

Utilize LinkedIn. This is the ultimate ‘people connecting people’ outlet. Strictly for professional use, LinkedIn specializes in meaningful connections. One of the best resources on this site is the “Find Alumni” section, where you can search graduates of your university, where they work, what they do, what they’ve studied and how you’re connected. Don’t worry, you’re not being annoying; they were begging for a job at one point, as well.

Follow up. You will not be offered a job by shaking the hand of a working professional, exchanging business cards and leaving. Take the extra time to shoot them an email, add them on LinkedIn, or request another meeting over a cup of coffee (you buy). People are people everywhere you go, and the only relationships that matter are those that are nurtured and invested in. Be persistent and personable, as you would with a friend.


It’s important to find the people and experiences in your life that have propelled you forward or inspired you the most. The Career Advancement Program Meaningful Connections Module inspires reflection on people you’ve met, the experiences you’ve had together, and the significance of these relationships. After all, you didn’t get where you are today on your own.


Professional Skills

Each position you apply for is going to have a list of ‘required’ or ‘preferred’ qualifications. This tells you what skills you need to fill the job. You’ll find a lot of positions that you can fill. So, where’s the disconnect between checking off each of the qualifications and getting hired? The key may be transferable skills.

These skills can’t be learned in a big lecture hall. Effective communication, problem solving and time management all fall into this category of transferable skills. Here we’ll break down the top 6 skills, ranked by employers.

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Where can you get these skills? Acquiring transferable skills, like the ones above, require tacit learning. This means that you learn them through doing. You know all of those group projects that you hate?

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They are actually helping you establish the most sought after skill, as rated by real employers.

And giving speeches in COMS 130?


That is helping you be a better communicator… Thanks KU Core.

Most of these skills are based in human interaction. If you’re the type to resist human contact at all costs — including going to Walmart at 1:00 am and only using the self-checkout before you avoid making eye contact with anyone and shuffling back to your car  — stay tuned for the next addition to this series, Meaningful Connections.

In the meantime, you might be asking yourself how you can express these skills to employers. While including words on your resume like collaborate and analyze is important, being able to talk about your experiences as a means of showcasing skills is the best way to spell it out for an employer. This is where CAP comes in. We’ll help you identify your skills and talk about them – just like you would to an employer.


KU Career Advancement Program

How are you preparing for your future? Does your career path match your interests? After graduation, most people work at least 40 years in their chosen career. That’s a long time – likely double the life you’ve already lived. Starting out with the right career for you, and on the right foot, will lead to a much more fulfilling life. The University Career Center is here to help you explore your interests and feel more prepared to enter the workforce.

The Career Advancement Program, CAP for short, has recently been developed, based on the seven dimensions of the employability curriculum. We all want to be employable, right? CAP was designed to help KU students better market and prepare themselves for a career, while they are still in school.

Studies show that employers believe that college is no longer fully preparing students for the workforce in terms of people skills, emotional intelligence and other soft skills.  Reportedly, gaps exist in multiple areas of business, the largest of which is prioritizing work. Career services and development should be embedded “into the fabric of undergraduate education” (Inside Higher Ed). CAP is a solution to this dilemma, exclusively for Jayhawks.

As the workplace evolves, it is important for students to adapt. It is becoming increasingly important to possess inherently human skills, as technology is quickly making some jobs obsolete. The employability curriculum and CAP work to develop and perfect these uniquely human skills.


CAP is KU’s initiative to bring career development to the forefront and provide a more convenient route for students who are seeking guidance. Follow on the blog to learn more about each of the seven pillars of the program and tweet @kucareer with #CareerAdvancementKU to learn more.