Networking. What is it? How do you do it? This term is so commonly thrown around and referenced, but seemingly so elusive. Everyone says it’s important, but no one tells you how to do it. Luckily, we have you covered. There are so many different ways to go about this so let’s outline some of the best and most effective ways to create and grow your network.
Use common denominators to start conversations
See someone from your college or fraternity works at the company you are interested in or are applying to? Message them on LinkedIn. People love to connect with classmates and it's a great conversation segway. The Muse even recommends starting your alumni network in your area if it does not already exist. If that doesn’t say go-getter, then what does?
Take advantage of the internet
While the internet has completely changed the game of searching and ultimately getting a job the internet is a wonderful tool for navigating networking. Use sites like LinkedIn to have points of contact with friends, family, co-workers, past co-workers, and anyone else you can think of. You never know when someone may be of help to you OR when you may be of help to someone else. This leads to the next point…
Be a resource to others
If an old student or colleague reaches out to you. Make sure you help them in any way you can. According to Inc., explain some of the best and most powerful networkers help the person they want something from before asking for help. This creates a more symbiotic relationship and will ultimately set you up to be less nervous asking for help when you have already provided something to that other person.
It's all about relationships
Go to networking events to meet new people, but you cannot just show up and suddenly you have all these new connections. While networking events are a great way to get a foot in the door, it is really about what you do after this. Connect with them on LinkedIn, send them a follow-up email, set about a lunch/ coffee date. Inc. explains this as the need to ‘take an authentic interest in your connection. Show the person you care about them and know just what they have to offer.