What is Networking and How to Properly Network
By: Omar Monsalvo
What is networking? Simply put, networking is the act of socializing between professionals in an industry. The goal of networking is to make genuine and memorable conversations with professionals. Everyone at a networking event carries value. Therefore it is important to stand out from the crowd by being your true self. Many will be self-driven to find a job, but it is important to show genuine interest about the other person: ask about what they do, their career journey, and about their company.
Start early. I cannot emphasize this enough because networking earlier creates better interpersonal skills and relationships near graduation. This will also allow for a less desperate body language and tone of voice. When someone is out with self-serving motivations, it will drastically decrease the chance of a genuine conversation. Focus rather on the professional's career, what their company needs help with, and think about how you can serve them better.
This allows them to do most of the talking, allows you to build up questions, and shows genuine interest.
There are two ways to approach networking: elevator pitch and casual conversation. An elevator pitch is when you feel like the other person is limited on time, but you both engage in a conversation. This method requires you to find the most important information that you want to relay to the other person. Think about how you can introduce yourself in 30 seconds to a minute. This is also the time to hand out your contact information. Casual conversation, however, is when you will be focusing on having a meaningful and casual conversation. People want to see who you are as a person aside from work and the job. If you give them a good impression, it will be an easier referral or a genuine connection.
Lastly, don’t forget to follow up with them if they made you feel good about the position and you guys had a great conversation. It takes time to write a well thought out email, but it will be beneficial to both parties. They can refer you, and if you are a great candidate, you have helped their company. Make sure to say it was enjoyable meeting them and hope to stay in touch. It is important to build your connections in life.
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