Happy Monday and Family Day Y’all!
I originally wrote a blog post on networking about two years ago on my personal website, so today, I am posting a revamped version of my networking tips for all of you who like to get connected.
Networking while in school:
Personally, some of the decisions I made DURING school were truly beneficial to my job search post graduation, and others, not so much. Upon reflecting on my experience, here are some tips to follow that will kick start what might feel like a daunting process...
You know those networking events put on by student councils, or clubs? GO to them:
You never know who you will meet and who can provide some help and guidance in the future.
At those events, actually put in effort to meet people:
Don't just go for the food, or to chat with your roomie. Research the featured guests before hand, learn a bit about them, and prepare some solid talking points. This can be nerve-wraking at first, but it will become easier- I promise!
Reach out to Industry Professionals:
You know your brothers friends mom who works in the field you are interested in? Reach out! Say you are really interested in what she does, and would love to learn more over coffee, or a phone call. People enjoy to talk about themselves, and it will be a great experience for you!
Make sure you thank them for their time, and send a follow up e-mail thanking them again the next day.
Check out Bumble Bizz, for an easy way to meet industry professionals online!
Make some Personal Business Cards:
Having a business card is perfect for those networking events or coffee chats! They are a great way for people to remember you, and when you receive one in return, you can then add them on Linked In or send a message so they remember you WoOoO!
I used Vistaprint to make my own personal business cards, its very easy and affordable!
Attend the FREE Resume clinics offered at your school:
Stop Stressing about the future and ~*Live in the Moment*~
Seriously. Right now, you're in school. Focus most of your energy on that- your classes, your extracurriculars, and your health. You are only in university once, and trust me, you’ll miss it. However, do TRY your best to put some of your energy into the above tips. Making a little bit of effort now, is guaranteed to be beneficial once you do graduate, and for many years to come.
Networking post grad or in general:
7) LinkedIn is a powerful tool- so use it!
LinkedIn is awesome because you can see what those around you are doing. If someone gets a new role that interests you, ask them if they might have some time to chat with you via the phone or over a coffee (pro tip: if it’s coffee, I recommend the coffee is on you!) Speaking of LinkedIn, ensure your profile is complete and up to date- including the profile photo! Here is mine as an example.
8) Think “what can I do for them” not “what can they do for me”.
Today more than ever, our time is precious. If there is someone you admire, and you’d like to meet them and learn about their career, or potential openings in their company, always frame your ask by letting them know what you are hoping to get out of the conversation, and what you can offer them. Example: Introduce yourself first, then ask something along the lines of- “By any chance, would you have some time in the coming weeks to meet via the phone or to grab a coffee? I am looking to move into a sales position, however my current experience is in marketing. I would like to learn about what you look for in candidates for your sales team, and how I can get work towards that. I believe my marketing background, could add an exciting aspect to your team, and I would appreciate your time to discuss this further. “
9) Events, Events, Events!
Attending events throughout the city has been the biggest factor in meeting people who have influenced my career, as well as part time roles. Often, the most unexpected event will lead you to the most amazing connections, so try to step out of your comfort zone here! I learn about the events I go to through Facebook groups, Eventbrite, or Instagram! As Bumble Toronto’s market lead, I personally put on events once a month in the city, and am always meeting at least a few people I connect with after! When this happens, make sure you add them as a contact wherever is suitable, and keep in touch!
10) The Butterfly Effect
The same as how a flap of a butterfly’s wings can cause changes in the weather across the world, the above efforts in networking, can make a huge difference later on. I’ve learned that remembering people and paying it forward is key. If you hear of an opportunity that would be perfect for someone you know, pass their name along. And who knows someone you’ve met, will do this for you. Guaranteed, people will pass the name along of the nice individual who bought them coffee, valued their time, or they met at an event. It’s all a cycle, an putting yourself out there is the first step to finding the opportunities of your dreams!
Following these tips, have allowed me to gain more insight on the kind of career I’m striving for, as well as make meaningful connections that have led to some amazing opportunities (both in my 9-5 and personal life). I wish you all luck making exciting and meaningful connections, and remember, you’re future is so bright!