“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
You’ve probably heard this phrase many times throughout your college career, and we’re here to tell you that it’s true. Although the knowledge you’ve gained in college is vital to the actual job, it’s not necessarily going to get you the job. Putting yourself out there and meeting professionals in your field of interest is important for professional development. Here are some tips on how to network properly:
1. Be prepared
A large part of networking is about you how present yourself. Have your elevator pitch perfected and memorized so that you can introduce yourself in a concise manner. Another way to start a conversation would be to have a few ice breaker questions ready. Simply asking, “How did you hear about this event?” can easily get you into a conversation.
2. Attend, attend, attend
Go to on-campus events related to your major, or attend a career or graduate fair. There are always on-campus opportunities to network, so take advantage of those. The Career Development Center hosts numerous events throughout the year that you can plug into. Networking events don’t always have to be major related. Branch out to industry-specific and interest-specific events as well. These can introduce you to a variety of new people and even more opportunities.
Staying in touch with those you meet is a smart way to keep that networking going and get your name out there. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those people either. Ask for an informational interview or set up a time to job shadow. Check out their network on LinkedIn and see if there are people you would like to be introduced to. Professionals like to network and they like those who put themselves out there.
4. Always follow up
An email, phone call, or hand-written note can really stand out and set you apart from others. This also allows them to have your contact information for future reference.
Networking can be intimidating, but we hope with these tips you will be more prepared to put yourself out there.