Attending industry events is useful not only for the learning opportunities, but also for the ability to meet new people and build a network of contacts. Of course, stepping up to a stranger (even if you presumably share some interests) can be intimidating. Here are some ways to make you feel more comfortable.
From Forbes, the article Non-Awkward Ways to Start and End Networking Conversations: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/03/06/non-awkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations/
Thrive (by Microsoft)
Thrive is a web site maintained by Microsoft that provides both technical and business career information. Resources include managing IT careers, aligning business and technology, and a host of other topics.
While the site is generally dedicated to professionals, students will find many resources useful as they explore career options. Here is the URL: http://www.microsoft.com/click/thrive.
There is also a podcast that details how to create a 1-page resume that stands out from the crowd: http://www.microsoft.com/events/podcasts/default.aspx?pageId=x5021&source=Microsoft-Podcasts
Finally, a series of webinars gathered as a "Career Toolkit": http://www.microsoft.com/learning/career/en/us/career-toolkit.aspx
How to Create a Successful Job Search Strategy
An e-book published by Microsoft and created specifically for IT professionals, this text provides information on topics ranging from creating successful resumes and cover letters as well as how to stay up-to-date with your technology skills.
Free ebook: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoft_press/archive/2010/03/03/free-ebook-own-your-future-update-your-skills-with-resources-and-career-ideas-from-microsoft.aspx
Online Reputation Management
It matters: see research and tips on how to manage your online reputation at http://www.microsoft.com/privacy/dpd/research.aspx.
News article from the New York Times Magazine with several examples of individuals impacted: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/magazine/25privacy-t2.html?_r=1.
LinkedIn Professional Network
LinkedIn is a large, online network of professionals created to establish relationships and use those relationships to advance careers. The Information Systems faculty maintain a group on LinkedIn where current and former students can connect. The group is useful to keep in touch with former classmates and faculty. Graduates who are currently in leadership positions can post job announcements to provide better opportunities for our current students.
Want to join our LinkedIn group? Log in or create a LinkedIn account and search for the "Troy University Information Systems" group.
Microsoft Students to Business
Designed to provide college students and recent graduates with both technical updates and soft skills information, the web cast series at experience.com features several web casts of 1 hour each. Thirty minutes is spent on technical topics, and thirty minutes on soft skills.
See http://www.experience.com/ for the series.