You’ve heard a million times: “It’s all about who you know!”. For many of us, the thought of putting ourselves out there and trying to make a professional connection with someone we don’t know is a little (or maybe very?) anxiety provoking. You may find yourself wondering: How do you even start this type of conversation? What about finding people in my industry to contact– where do I start?
Take moment to review our handy networking cheat sheet for a brief overview on how to:
- Build professional relationships
- Learn about companies you may want to work with
- Practice interviewing skills
And don’t forget to sign up today to practice these skills at the Engaging with Emerson Entrepreneurs networking night on November 9th!
Why is networking important?
About 80% of jobs are found through contacts and referrals. It will also allow you time to think about your own goals and strengths and where you may want to apply them for the future.
- When you network, don’t ask for a job or internship. You want to genuinely find out more about the person and what they do for their career. Use it as an experience to meet professionals who may be doing what you want to do yourself in the future, and as a starting point to building professional relationships in your field.
- Always be genuine and have a positive attitude when meeting with the person. Also make sure you have researched their company and prepared questions beforehand.
- Remember, once you ask about their information and receive it, be sure to say thank you. It’s important to always express gratitude for the time taken out of someone’s day to help you be successful as well.
- Sometimes one contact may not be enough to understand everything about a company or what a position in the company entails. Knowing how much to ask a contact is key. In this case, you can ask your contact if they know anyone else you can talk to. If a contact gives you another person’s name or information, make sure to follow-up! You want to make sure that you are being proactive and not allowing the effort of your contact to be dismissed.
- Finally, if a contact or someone they referred you to does not want to or cannot share certain experiences with you, respect them.
- Confidentiality is key when it comes to networking. Your contact disclosed the information to you out of trust and respect, so you want to give them the same hospitality.
How to find people to contact:
- Look around for people you may know. Friends, family, colleagues, faculty and acquaintances are a large resource you have at hand. Talk to them about what they do if you’re interested in their career, or ask them if they may know anyone they can introduce you to.
- Another excellent way to meet professionals is through on campus events. Career Services organizes employer meet and greets and mock interview sessions throughout the semester. Go to these events and introduce yourself to those working in the company or industry.
- If you have the information of a person you do not know, social media and email is a great way to start initial contact. Scheduling a meeting with the person face-to-face or over the phone allows them to get a better idea of who you are in real life.
- You can also tap into the Emerson Alumni network to meet additional contacts. Check out our guide on Contacting Emerson Alumni for tips!
Emerson Alumni Relations and Career Services are here to help you practice these skills through structured networking events, online resources and personalized connections. We’re here for YOU!