Networking often seems unnatural and about getting something
from people. This makes it uncomfortable for people who want to make
professional connections. New graduates, especially those who are fretful to
find a job, very much need and want help, but they don’t want others to think
that they only want something from them and that they’re faking the
relationship. But networking doesn’t have to be as uncomfortable; here are five
tips to introduce you to networking:
Leverage Your Position as a Recent Graduate
Immediately after college graduation, professionals are eager to
help graduates find their way and land a job. Established professionals acknowledge
young people need guidance. This may not be so later on in your career. So leverage
your position and reach out to people approaching them at events, cold email them and ask if you
may buy them a cup of coffee for 15 minutes of their time. Before meeting them,
do your research. With them, ask plenty of questions, take note of what they
tell you, and take in as much as you can. It is a compliment to inquire someone
for advice, and people know graduates need it.
Sometimes, networking is just about making friends
A natural way to network is simply to make friends with your
co-workers, and employees at other companies in your field. Feel free to focus
on forming a relationship, and establishing a sense of camaraderie with them.
These friendships can ultimately be more necessary than the ones you build up
the ladder. These peers can be the first to think of you when there’s a job;
the ones to give you ideas if you come across professional dilemma and your
sounding board when work is difficult. Your bond with them is just as important
as your relationship with your superior.
Choose the networking events you attend wisely
Don’t just sign up for networking events. Be intentional as you
navigate the networking wilderness. This means only attending events that are
attended by companies you want to be hired by and professionals you admire.
Focus more of your time on what connections you can build through your existing
relationships (friends, family, classmates, previous professors, social group
etc), and cold emailing professionals you admire and want to chat with.
Seize End of Events
There are some studies that indicate that it is smart to wait
until the end of an event to meet someone important. If you make a good
impression at the end of an event, you are more likely to be remembered. So
don’t leave an event before it ends if there is someone in particular you want to
speak to; stay until the end and seize the moment.
Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up
Making an initial connection through any of the above ways is
only the beginning. You only keep to make the initial good connection you’ve
made if you follow-up and stay in touch. This is the most difficult part for many
people. It’s difficult to make connections and easy to lose them. It would be very
bad if you only contact someone when you need them. People will know, and won’t
help. So make it part of your routine to keep up with people. Remember events
like birthdays, new job, a wedding or the birth of a child or grandchild. Send
them a note or if you are close by, give a gift. Send over an article you think
might interest them. Use 15-minute in your day to connect with people you
worked hard to meet; you will benefit from it throughout your life and career.