If you just graduated from college and are struggling to figure out how to network, you have come to the right place. It’s important, but networking can also be seen as transactional and strategic which can be intimidating to anyone.
Network doesn’t have to be as difficult or scary as it seems to be, which is great news for anyone who’s trying to get their foot in the door. Below we have detailed some of our favorite networking tips for college grads. Take a look and see what you can do now that you’re on to the big wide world!
If you’re wanting to start networking with a specific company, you should know everything you can about the company before going in to a networking event or talking with the person you know works for them.
Make sure you know all there is to know about their competitors as well, as it shows that you did your research and are willing to go to them before their competitors. In addition, make sure you know the company’s strengths, weaknesses, mission, and vision. These are all great talking points to sell yourself: tell the company why they need your strengths to make their weaknesses disappear, to succeed at their mission or vision, or to simply reinforce the strength that they already have.
It’s important that you show interest in whoever you’re talking to. Recruiters really enjoy prospective employees who ask questions and are engaged in the conversation. Aim for a genuine conversation: listen attentively and ask questions.
Before going to a networking event, make sure that you prepare an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a quick 30 second speech that projects the personal brand that sets you apart from others.
You should always be clear about your long and short term goals. It’s one of the most important things for entry-level job seekers to be clear about where they want to end up and how long they plan on being in the job they’re networking for. A good formula is to state the position you want, the assets you have to add, and what you want out of it.
Start with who You Know
The first thing you should do is start with who you know. Your family, friends, professors, staff, colleagues, and coworkers should be the first people you go to when you’re starting to network. Typically, you can find a lot of networking within your first circle and some people even pick up jobs just from talking to family and friends.
Networking is a two-way street. You need to position yourself in a place that recruiters can get to but you should also be making an effort to reach out to people you know in high places and people you know that can get you where you need to go.
Don’t be scared of networking, it’s exactly what you need to do to get into the job field, and everyone is eager to welcome you in!