Networking 101: Tips and Tricks for Your Job Search
When it comes to finding a job, few things are as important as networking. In fact, 65-85% of jobs and other opportunities are acquired through networking! It can be intimidating at times, but with preparation and practice, you can strengthen this skill and set yourself up for career success. Sometimes, it really is about who you know.
UConn’s Center for Career Development has some valuable tips to follow once you’ve signed up for a networking event.
Before the Event
1: Create an “elevator pitch.” This is a quick introduction of who you are and what you do. Make sure to include strengths and skills you want to highlight. This is your chance to make a good first impression.
2: Take a look at the guest list, if available, and make a plan. Who do you want to meet? What do you hope to learn? If you have any mutual connections, there could be an opportunity for a personal introduction.
3: Come up with questions for the other attendees, such as what their job is like and how they got to where they are. Be prepared to answer similar questions.
4: Update your LinkedIn profile so that it puts you in your best light if a new connection reaches out to you online.
During the Event
1: Avoid the temptation to stay by yourself. This is the time to step out of your comfort zone and connect with those around you. Introduce yourself.
2: Put your preparation into place by sharing your elevator pitch and asking your questions.
3: Discuss your interests, backgrounds, and goals. Find something you have in common with others.
4: Be confident and genuine.
5. Keep an open mind. You never know who will be a valuable connection now or in the future.
6. Thank everyone you speak with.
After the Event
1: Follow up, either connecting on LinkedIn or emailing a note.
2: Communication should be professional and customized to the person you are connecting with.
Keep practicing, and you will be ready for your opportunity whenever it arises.