Networking is an extremely valuable resource for anyone looking for a new job. Whether you’re a new grad looking for your first position out of school, or a mid-career professional looking for a new opportunity, mastering the art of networking can help you land your dream job. We’ve rounded up some tips to help you take your networking to the next level.
Start with Your Existing Networks
Go through your list of contacts including bosses from past jobs and internships, alumni from schools you’ve attended, and family and friends. Determine whether any of these people have connections that would help you land your next job, then reach out to them for more information.
Ask for an Introduction
It always helps to break the ice if you have a mutual acquaintance introduce you to a potential connection. Once you’ve identified someone you want to meet, ask around and see if anyone in your network knows this person, and if they would be willing to introduce you. This strategy also works online, where a connection request from a stranger might seem like spam, but one facilitated by a mutual acquaintance is accepted.
Prep Your Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is your first chance to make an impression while networking. Prepare a brief introduction that includes information about your current position and responsibilities. Explain what you do clearly and concisely and be genuine.
Attend Networking Events
Many colleges and universities host networking events for alumni, and so do companies that are looking for new talent. Find networking events that interest you and plan on attending, even if it’s alone. In fact, going alone can be even better because it’s easier to mix and mingle. If you meet someone interesting at the event, be sure to ask for their contact information.
Once you have someone’s contact information, make sure you follow up soon after an event, phone call, or virtual meeting. Send them a quick note via email or LinkedIn thanking them for their time. Make sure to reference something specific from your conversation to jog their memory.
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