Networking Dos and Don’ts
Meeting new people, in social occasions, mixers, job fairs or in social media, is a great way to explore your career opportunities. It is also often the best way to secure a relationship with someone who may be in a position to hire you or has an influence over hiring decisions. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the networking opportunities you get.
Do prepare questions: It’s helpful to think through the kinds of information you wish you gain from the connections you make. If you are as prepared as possible, you are more likely to use your short time with your desired contacts more efficiently!
Do make your interaction memorable: Most often, we are only given a short amount of time with important people. Make sure you say your name clearly and present your ideas and goals in a brief, pleasant, and unique way to make a more lasting impression.
Do use business cards: There are a lot of places online that you can get cheap or free business cards. Carrying these around not only looks good, but it is also a convenient way to give someone important your contact information. If you get a chance, write the time and place you met on the back of the business cards you give out to help your new contact remember you.
Do listen and learn: If you meet someone just for networking purposes and they take the time to share some sage wisdom with you as well, you’ve gotten lucky. Listen closely and take their advice to heart. When you meet these people again, you will also have something to show from it, proving your value as a possible partner in the future.
Do follow up: The important people you meet probably don’t have time to make an effort to reach out to you, so it will be up to you to follow up with them. Send them a friendly e-mail thanking them or follow any instructions they may have given you. They’ll likely notice your efforts and remember you from the good impression you made.
Don’t Be afraid to reach out to people you know: Often you can network just by reaching out to people you already know who are in your desired field or who know someone else who is. In the worst case scenario, they say no, and in the best, you make a wonderful connection that leads to a position in your desired career!
Don’t Be afraid to ask questions: Asking well thought out questions to possible contacts is a great way to show genuine interest in your field. It is also flattering for you to consider them experts in their field. Looking for their answers will not only help you but also help them remember the way that made them feel about you.
Don’t Get too personal: If you’re reaching out to a new person professionally, it’s okay to talk about personal topics they bring up, but don’t talk too much about things that leave a negative memory like your divorce, least favorite bosses, or your distaste for a colleague.
Don’t Only reach out to one person: The wider net you cast, the more fish you will pull in. In other words, the more people you connect with, the more likely at least one of them will become a helpful contact for you.
Don’t Self-promote too much: You want to make a good impression when networking, but if you talk too much about yourself, you give the potential contact no room to see how you can help them. Phrase things in a way that makes them see how hiring you or helping you will also benefit them.
If you need any extra help, speak to an LA ORT Career Advisor for any job place inquiries. Good luck, students and graduates!