There’s no getting away from the importance of networking for your career. If you don’t get out there and talk to people, you are doing yourself a disservice. Here are 10 quick tips that will help you improve your networking game.
1. Prepare a clever answer to the question, “What do you do?” Your pitch should cover more than your job title and your company. Craft an answer that prompts a response and an ongoing dialogue
2. According to Pew Research, the average American has 634 connections in their personal and professional networks. Although not all of these will have relevant career advice, there’s truth in the saying that it’s not what you know, it's who you know. Increase your chances of a fruitful meeting by continuing to expand your network and letting those around you know your professional interests..
3. The currency of networking is generosity. It pays to remember that networking is not about keeping score, so leave your “What can you do for me?” attitude at the door and look for ways to help others first.
4. Credibility goes a long way in any industry, as people tend to do business with those they trust and not just people who they get along with. Determine how to become an expert in your field and you will find that your network is clamoring to do business with you.
5. Stay true to your word. If you promise to follow up on a certain date, make sure that you do. If you are unable to follow through on a scheduled meeting you can’t realistically expect people to take you seriously when it comes to doing business together.
6. Take a professional tip from network marketers and create a list of people you know to jog your memory about your connections. You might be surprised what names you come up with that you haven’t contacted in a while!
7. Don’t rely on chance meetings. Catching up with close friends is enjoyable, but it is more productive to actively reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
8. Take the initiative at networking events. Everyone is there to expand their contacts, yet many will feel apprehensive. Learn some ice breaking techniques beyond pushing your card into the palm of everyone you encounter and people will naturally warm to you.
9. Be a good listener instead of monopolizing conversation. Once initial nerves have subsided, people love to talk about themselves, and you can gain valuable information by hearing them out.
10. Know how your network can help you. Take the time to learn your network's connections and how you can be appropriately introduced to people who interest you. Don't be afraid to be up front and ask for meetings from time to time.
For more helpful career resources and information, current students should visit the Career Resources page in the Campus Common!