Networking 101

credit to: https://eocc.co/professional-networking-dos-and-donts/

Whether you are a new graduate or still in college sifting through your career options, networking is a significant part of the job search. Becoming comfortable with networking is extremely important because the right contacts open the door to new opportunities. I have been working on my networking skills for some time now, and while I still have a long way to go, I did manage to learn a few things over the past couple of months. So whether you are reaching out to an alum or cold-calling professionals working in industries you are interested in, here are some tips on how to connect with people who can help you grow.

  1. Think of who you already know.

You already have a network of family, friends, and family of friends, and believe it or not, it’s an amazing place to start from! They already know you so it would be easier to ask for favors without worrying. The only thing with this is that you should get the people in this network to see you in terms of the career for which you are preparing; you probably are a niece or a cousin to them first. Once you manage to get them see you in a professional and career-related light, you will realize that you probably have a strong network in place already available to you.

  1. Research who you are meeting/connecting with, and come up with questions.

Coming prepared will show the person you are meeting that you are serious and genuinely interested in them. So research their background, their education and experience, and ask them relevant questions. By being able to hold mutually interesting conversations, you can make it easy for the other side to share what you want them to about themselves.

  1. Volunteer.

This seems like an obvious one if you are still in college, but volunteering is also an amazing opportunity if you are a recent graduate trying to get your foot in the door. Volunteering is one of the most effective ways to build relationships with people who share your interests and passions. Your involvement together towards the same goal would help you bond with them in a way that runs much deeper than informational interviews, which are effectively just 30-minute meetings at the end of the day.

  1. Be yourself.

I’ve found that being yourself is the best approach in any networking meeting. Talk about yourself and your interests in a casual and non-salesy way. Always try to share rather than sell; this would help you win people over with your enthusiasm. The idea is to get the conversation started about your interests and qualifications. Just make sure to go to that meeting with a mental list of your recent accomplishments, so that if you are asked to share them, you can be ready to give them an easy description. This way, you can easily integrate your accomplishments into the conversation.

 

I hope you find these tips useful! I myself am learning how to be an efficient communicator at networking events and meetings as I go, and I will continue sharing my experiences here. Good luck!

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