Networking is a huge deal for life after college. It may sometimes make your desired plan or break your plan. How many times have you heard the saying “It’s not always about what you know but who you know.”
That saying is DEFINITELY true!
Networking helps accelerate your career by connecting with people you may not usually connect with. When you talk with people those people are most likely to know someone or have insight in your designated career field. Basically, who you connect with knows someone, who knows someone who knows someone.
For me, I’m really awkward. I just am. I am an awkward person. So if you are anything like me you do NOT like “small talk”. And most of the time you do NOT like stepping out of your comfort zone nor do you constantly grab at the opportunity to meet new people. However, after graduation all the things that I don’t like I have to do in order to network.
It is very important to have an impression on every new person you come in contact with you. You never know they may be your future boss or co-worker. Since graduation I have learned of some tips that will help the college graduate step out of their comfort zone into the world on networking.
1. Go to Career Fairs.
My specific desired field, Broadcast Journalism, does not offer career fairs. Your desired field
may not be at career fairs either. However, it’s still good to sharpen your chops. Going to a
career fair gives you the opportunity to talk with people of different paths and perfect your skills
at small talk. Even though you may not be interested in the offers presented. It is still good
practice for you to present your resume and cover letter and later get feedback to make your
Also, even though your career is not present at the career fair it is a great
opportunity to tell company representatives about what you do. You never know, they may
know someone in your field and can relay your resume to them.
2. Tell Everyone About Yourself!
Now that you have graduated, don’t be shy to tell people about your degree. Wherever you go,
whenever people ask what your career path is, tell people what your plans are and how you are
willing to get there. The key is to network and chat with as many people as you can so they can
relay the message to their associates. So keep in mind wherever you go, and someone asks
about your plans don’t be afraid to be firm and let them know. You never who you may be
3. What Should You Say?
When it comes to talking to other people it isn’t always easy to do. But, with practice it comes
naturally and a secondary skill of chit-chat. No matter what anyone says, to chit-chat is a skill!
You have to keep engaging with people to sharpen your skills. I had to get out of my comfort zone many times to engage and participate in conversations.
- Do NOT tell your life story.
- Look people directly in the eye when speaking with them.
- Have a firm handshake and bright smile.
- Before going to career fairs, look in the mirror and introduce yourself to yourself.
- Listen first, then speak.
- Let the conversation flow naturally, don’t force it.
When you converse with others you don’t know, you build more charisma and social skills. This is definitely something you need in the real world.
I hope this encourages you along your job search journey. Let me know if you have any networking tips!