Finding people to contact is just part of networking. Try these quick tips to make the most of your conversations with networking contacts:
- Send an e-mail to introduce yourself when requesting a meeting. Explain (briefly!) what you have in common and describe what you hope to learn through your conversation. Include a date and time that you will follow up by phone to schedule your meeting time if you haven’t heard back; then, follow through! (Because so many people don’t do what they say they will, this attention to detail is sure to impress.)
- Research the industry, organization, and person you will be meeting prior to your conversation.
- Consider information that you are learning in classes, internships, or student organizations that might be interesting to your target contact.
- Make a list of questions to ask; if you are starting with a sample list of questions obtained from your career center or online, customize the questions to be specific to the industry and the person you will be contacting.
- Treat professionals with respect. Use appropriate grammar and spelling when writing messages. If you’ve scheduled a meeting, don’t cancel. Arrive 15 minutes early.
- Whether your conversation is in person, on the phone, or via e-mail, follow up with a thank-you note to show your appreciation and improve your chances of creating a productive relationship.
- Don’t be discouraged if some people whom you contact aren’t immediately helpful. Be patient, and continue to develop contacts. Similarly, you might encounter people who you don’t feel a positive connection toward; in those cases, be polite, send a thank-you note, and move on. None of us can predict which connections will lead to meaningful outcomes, so use care to nurture your connections. Accept networking as an investment in your future that can produce results in the present.
Upcoming Networking Events include an Alumni Career Webinar w/ an alumnae working with the Equal Rights Center (10/2) and Munch & Mingle (10/24), an on-campus event with alumni from different career fields.
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.