Networking: Why it’s important and how you should do it

There is nothing that I can stress more than the importance of networking with area professionals and putting yourself out there. If it weren’t for networking, I would have missed out on many opportunities that I have been lucky enough to take part in. In fact, I somewhat credit the fact that I got an interview for my internship to networking. Back then, I really wanted an interview; so, after I sent in my resume and cover letter, I reached out to the president of the company. I can’t say whether or not it it was the reason that I got called in for the interview was because of the tweet that I sent to the president, but I think it may have been a factor. Either way, networking is a vital key to success.

Is this you?

So, you may be wondering how you should network with professionals. It can be quite intimidating to think about striking up a conversation with a prominent professional. Trust me, though, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Here are a few tips that I have learned since I began networking:

1.) Before you do anything, make yourself some business cards. This is extremely important because you never know when you will run into someone important. You may miss a chance to network if you can’t exchange information. To make free business cards click here.

2.) Create an opening pitch. This is similar to an introduction, but it has objectives. It states who you are, where you go to school, what your major is, and what your job goals/ intentions are. It should be two sentences maximum and include all of the necessary information. A good and bad example of an elevator pitch can be found here.

3.) Show respect for the professional. Just like when you are tweeting, make sure that you follow the 80/20 rule. Let the professional talk 80 percent of the time and you give your insight 20 percent of the time. This may not always be possible but it is a good exercise in listening. Often times, we are nervous when talking to someone important and this allows us to listen and take the conversation in. It also makes the professional feel respected.

Lastly, remember to be yourself! Above anything, professionals are going to remember a stand-out personality. Try not to let your nervousness get the best of you, and charm them with your pearly whites!

Below is some advice from one of my favorite public speakers, Lauren Berger (a.k.a. the Intern Queen @internqueen). I was lucky enough to meet her while I was in Washington D.C. for the PRSSA National Conference (@prssanational) and I was really inspired by her story (she had over 10 internships before graduation!). Anyways, she’s awesome. You should listen to her!

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5 Responses

  1. […] what you know but who you know. If you would like to read more about networking check out this blog post from my fellow classmate Jessi […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by UWOsh Journalism, Jessica Bedore. Jessica Bedore said: Networking: What you need to be doing as a college student http://ow.ly/3XZLg @sameplane @webbc46 #prstudchat #interns #journchat #prssa […]

  3. I agree with you networking is very important. Networking is how I have gotten my internships. I also know many professionals that have said how important it is to network to get a job after graduation.

  4. I like this post – most people know you should network but don’t really know how. I especially like the comparison of the good and bad pitch. The difference is a bit subtle and many people probably make that type of mistake. Good tips.

  5. Thanks Paul and Christine! I hope that the info was of some help to you. Spread the word about networking!

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