1. Leverage Your Professional Circles
When you join a professional circle or community, you become a part of a network of fellow students and alumni. You already have something in common with these individuals (your school!), so it’ll be easier to start conversations with them than others.
Plus, you get exclusive access to professional development opportunities, digital and regional events, newsletters, and other resources. You definitely want to check out this resource if you haven’t yet!
2. Reach Out To People On LinkedIn
If you’re shy and have a hard time going to networking events, leveraging LinkedIn is a must-do. It’s essentially a directory of potential connections right at your fingertips. All you have to do is identify who you want to reach out to, invite them to connect, and start a message thread. It’s a great way to break the ice if you’re an introvert. Think about people who work at your dream companies or who you consider to be industry experts. Reach out to them and get a conversation started!
3. Look Up Attendee Lists Before Your Next Event
It can be overwhelming going to big networking events without any direction. Who do you talk to at the event? How can you make the most of your time there?
Some events make the attendee lists public so you can research who’s planning to go. That way, you can formulate a game plan before you arrive at the event. Think about who you should talk to there and brainstorm some conversation topics that will help you get a productive conversation going with each of them.
4. Change Your Attitude Toward Networking
So many people have a negative connotation with networking, they think “it’s fake,” “it’s uncomfortable,” and “it’s a waste of time.” If this sounds like you, it’s time to change your attitude toward networking.
Try just going into it with the intention of having a good time, and meeting new and interesting people -- and nothing else. You’ll not only have a better experience, but you’ll also make better, more valuable connections.
If you need more help with your networking strategy, head over to career services at Longwood University and chat with a career coach. Both students and alumni are encouraged to leverage this resource. Check it out!