It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. You know? Get-It-Done Guy has six must-have tips to get you started on building your professional network.
6 Networking Tips for New College Grads
#1 - Be Proactive
One of the nice things about life until graduation is that pre-determined schedules drive your life. You can participate (or not) in the opportunities that come your way, but opportunities do come your way.
Once you graduate, you can’t just sit back and wait for opportunity. You need to be proactive and drive the process. Opportunity rarely just shows up at your doorstep.
An easy place to be proactive as a recent grad looking for a job is to start building your network. Now. That means making new friends.
The best way to kick off a relationship is with a shared interest. The industry you want to work in, companies you want to work for, or the kind of job you want to do all represent an interest you share with others to build a relationship. You can find like-minded people at conferences, company informational sessions, or industry gatherings. Go to these events, meet people who share your passion, and make connections. Which brings us to tip number three.
#3 - Ask for contact information
Conferences are my favorite places to meet people, because everyone attending has something in common—you’re interested in the same industry or skill. This weekend I went to a presentation on "Ranked Choice Voting." It’s a better voting system than the most-votes-wins system we currently use. Everyone there cared about making democracy work better.
Talk started with voting. By the time we were done, we’d discussed monetary policy, health care, governance, and communication. Because we had so much in common, it was natural to exchange contact information. Boom! I had new people in my network.
Conferences are my favorite places to meet people, because everyone attending has something in common—you’re interested in the same industry or skill.
In order to build relationships, you have to see someone more than once. So, ask for contact information. This can be scary, especially if you’re shy, but it’s really easy.
Just say, “I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and would like to stay in touch. Would you like to sharing contact information?”
If they say no (which rarely happens), just say “I understand. Thank you for an enjoyable time” and move on.
If they say yes, exchange business cards.