Networking: How to Get Started

In this day and age, networking is incredibly important to your professional career. You need to develop an expansive network that can help you as you start looking for a new job. You can reach out to people in your network that may have a connection to a company that you want to apply to, so that person can reach out to the hiring manager for you or you can use them as a reference. Here are some steps you can take to start building your network:

Attend Networking Events

You can find networking events by searching the Internet or checking your local college’s job board. When you show up to the event, you need to be prepared. If you know about certain companies or individuals that will be there, you should do some research and learn some background information to help you know what to talk about. Make connections with others, and pass out business cards when the time is appropriate.

Use the Internet

Social media sites can be a great way to network. Evaluate your sites and make changes to help boost your professional reputation. Then, you should continue to make connections. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and other sites can be great resources for networking, so if you don’t have accounts yet, you should change that as soon as possible.

Consider Your Personal Network

Many people don’t want to rely on family to get a job, but they can be a great way to help you network. Your parents or extended family may have connections that could help you land the perfect job. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and let them know what you’re looking for. You never know if your uncle will have a friend of friend who can help you get the job that you want.

Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch should be given in the short time that it takes to ride an elevator to the next floor. You can use it to sum of your professional self in just a few sentences. You can tell them about your college major, your current career, and other highlights of your career. Remember the points that you want to include, but don’t just memorize your resume and pitch it. That it will sound too robotic.

Remember the Human Element

When networking with others, don’t forget the human element. You want to use the people in your network to help you get ahead in life, but you shouldn’t make them feel used. Practice small talk. Find things that you have in common, especially people. Share information about yourself and encourage others to share information about themselves. You don’t just want to make professional connections, you want to build a relationship with that person.

Follow Up

When someone gives you a business card, you need to follow up. Send them a short email to remind them about your conversation and push your relationship further. Connect with your network on a regular basis.
After taking the steps to build your network, you can rely on these individuals to provide mentoring and assistance as you work to further your professional career.

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