As a career advisor, I often discuss with students the importance of networking and the benefits of tapping into professional contacts. Our website has lots of information about WHERE you can network but there’s little discussing HOW to network. When I was a college student it was scary – I was not comfortable reaching out to professionals and the thought of making conversation in a social setting with perfect strangers caused me a lot of anxiety.
My college roommate was a total natural and could talk to anyone in any situation. I was always blown away by her ease and I told her networking seemed really superficial and cheesy. She replied, “It’s only superficial and cheesy if you make it that way.” She went on to explain that she liked meeting other people and generally learning more about them. She mostly asked questions which spurred the conversation on to things she was genuinely interested in knowing more about.
That was a valuable lesson in recognizing that networking is simply about making connections. And what those interactions look like is up to you! Not all of us are natural networkers, so I highly suggest looking at the site, Mango. Despite it’s fun and fruity name, they are very serious and passionate about their mission to “spread a more natural way of professional connecting (so that) everyone can tap the power of their networks to move their careers ahead.”
The site includes:
- Networking tips for making connections, discovering jobs and exploring careers
- Networking guides for finding mentors, career paths and employment
- Step-by-step instructions on drafting your first networking message
- Video tutorials on outreach communications and question preparation
Watch this video to learn more and visit the site to start effectively networking!