It seems that word is thrown around so often. I don’t know whether I’ve noticed it more because of being a PR major in my senior year or because social media is still very prevalent and makes it extremely easy to network. Either way, networking can be crucial to a young professional. Being connected to certain professionals can really help launch your career. However, you MUST go about it the right way.
Get Out: Attend events where other students or professionals will be. You never know who you’ll meet at a speaking engagement, charity event, or even happy hour. (Just make sure you’re not getting sloppy!)
Interact Online: Use Twitter, Facebook, and obviously LinkedIn to your advantage. Follow people whose jobs you find interesting. Tweet or message professionals questions bout their work, etc. Show Interest! I’ve made great connections just from tweeting questions and asking advice from professionals in my city.
Get Bizzy with it: Seriously, get some business cards and carry them with you. Biz cards make it extremely easy to swap information. You can get them for almost nothing on VistaPrint and all you need is: Name, phone number, email, Social Media links if you’d like, and you position if you have one.
Follow up: After you make a connection with someone, shoot them a simple email. Tell them how nice it was to meet them and that you’d love to keep in touch, etc. just make it professional and genuine.
Keep in touch: Don’t just email them once or add them on LinkedIn and just sit there. Touch base with them every once in awhile. See if they’ll meet you for coffee to talk about their expertise or if they’ll give you a tour of their workplace. Whatever you do, don’t just connect and let that be that. Nothing will come from a one time meet.
You never know where a connection can take you. Happy networking!