When you are a recent college graduate, networking can seem a bit intimidating. Even people who have been in their field for a long while sometimes see networking as a chore. If done correctly, however, networking can be very valuable to you.
I have found a few great articles (and I'm sure there are many more out there) on how to network the "right" way. I am sure it helps if you're naturally an outgoing person who knows someone at a designated event, but these articles will help anyone, regardless of your field.
In "10 Tips for Successful Business Networking", Stephanie Speisman does a great job of preparing the job seeker for a networking opportunity. I recommend reading through her tips and finding the ones that are applicable to your situation. Her #1 tip about being genuine is very important. Trust me, colleagues and potential employers will see right through you if you are constantly talking about yourself or nodding at everything that is said. Keep in mind that you should treat everyone like a person, not simply an opportunity. Read more here:
I always find useful information at about.com. There are numerous articles on networking, but I found one by Alison Doyle that I think is a must-read for recent graduates. She explains how networking can be done anywhere, even in an informal setting. She also gives great examples of follow-up letters that I think are often forgotten in our fast-paced society. You can read her tips here:
Whatever you do, make sure you stay true to yourself. If your way of networking hasn't yielded great results, it's time to switch it up. Try volunteering with an alumnni event or within your community or local business association. Chances are you will meet a great contact in no time.
By: Amy Muldoon
Amy Muldoon graduated from Penn State University in 2005 and worked in corporate public relations for three years before returning to graduate school at Holy Family University to become a secondary English teacher. Her strengths include: drafting speeches, writing talking points for media interviews, making corporate presentations, and writing for publications.