- Listen thoughtfully and take genuine interest in others. Forget about preparing your response. Respond after you have listened well and take your time.
- Be honest and open. This means being willing to accept constructive criticism and advice. Also, be willing to discuss your genuine hopes and interests with others.
- Learn to sell yourself. What relevant skills, courses, internships, accomplishments and experience will you share? You might also share relevant volunteer experience or leadership positions in campus and professional organizations. Discuss why you are interested in their organization/career field and how you fit.
- Prepare a 30-second commercial that promotes YOU. Although you may feel awkward, this is a good skill to practice. This can be done in front of a mirror or with a friend, family member or career counselor. Typically, your "commercial" includes your name, area of interest, experience and current goals.
- Turn networking opportunities into chances to develop and showcase your interpersonal and communication skills.
- Be as specific as possible when you talk to people about your career aspirations. You may be surprised by how intently others listen to your interests and unique goals.
- Remember your contact's name! If you repeat a person's name after you are introduced to them, you are more likely to remember it. For example, "Nice to meet you, Jackie!" It is also something that never goes unnoticed and is appreciated.
- Follow through. A thank-you letter is the best way to follow through with a contact whether it is by email or snail-mail. Keep the other person informed about your progress and their impact.
- Have fun! Getting to know different people can be exciting and an enjoyable process. Networking is not only a way to get a job, but also a way to make new friends.
- Don't overlook the multitude of networking opportunities out there: professional associations, LinkedIn, community involvement, job fairs, informational interviews, etc.
- Don't give your resume unless requested or if you are applying for an open position with the employer. This can be viewed as presumptuous and pushy.
- Don't sit back and wait for employers to come to you. Networking is about taking initiative and making positive things happen for you!
- Don't be intimidated! Having confidence helps others see how positive and motivated you are, which can lead you to great opportunities!