Networking

"The mark of a good conversationalist is not that you can talk a lot. The mark is that you can get others to talk a lot. Thus, good schmoozer’s are good listeners, not good talkers."

Guy Kawasaki

Networking Tips

 

 

What we really mean by the term "networking" is this: meeting people and staying in touch. That's it! You'll find it all works best when it comes from a place of  "How can I help?" and not with "What can I get?" Networking is when real people connect and find valuable ways to assist one another.

 

Your goal is to continually build an ever-growing network that eventually reaches into  your industry-specific, business environment until you discover employer needs and/or positions. With each networking contact that provides you information and connections to other contacts, your visibility and news of your availability grows.

 

 

The Core Principles of Networking

 

Networking requires you to have the right mindset and the right skill set. This mindset  requires you to appreciate the importance of intimacy and generosity. Intimacy means that you make people feel as if they can approach you. When you are networking with anyone, you need them to want to talk to you and to enjoy talking to you. Generosity is another core aspect of networking. Focus on adding value to the relationship, not just finding value in the relationship. All too often people think networking is about getting something but in reality, networking is a two way relationship that requires you to be generous.

 

 

 

 

 

On This Page
 

4 - Step Approach to Networking

Approach 

 

When you network it will be up to you to approach people, either in person at an event or you may reach out to them online. When you approach someone, you are making a first impression and you want to make sure it counts.

 

 

Build Rapport 

 

Networking is based on building relationships and in a conversation it is crucial to build rapport. Be genuine when building rapport and focus on the other person just as much as you focus on yourself.

 

 

The Ask

 

While it’s great to build relationships with people, when you network you may have a specific goal and at some point in the conversation you will need to focus on accomplishing your goal. The goal may be to set up an information interview or even to have contact information shared.

 

Begin by asking for their contact info, perhaps with a comment that you would like to stay in touch or discuss a topic further. DO NOT ask for an interview or hand over a copy of your resume when you first meet a new contact. Wait until you have established rapport and follow up with strategies that will allow you to reach your goal. 

 

 

Follow Up 

 

It is crucial to follow up in a timely manner, especially if you want people to remember you. Following up is professional and allows you to maintain a relationship with the individuals you’ve met through networking. 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Networking Do's & Don'ts

When Approaching

 

  • Arrive on time for the event

  • Don’t approach industry members with a large group

  • Don’t cut into someone’s conversation but rather find a way to join the conversation

  • Take the initiative to walk up and say hello – people are there to talk to you

  • Dress in proper business attire

  • Avoid strong perfume or cologne (less is better; none is best)

  • If there is food at the event, do not approach anyone while you are eating

  • Approach with a greeting and start the conversation with a friendly introduction

  • Save time and approach the people who you want to target

  • Be prepared for your conversations – have questions ready that are relevant to the people you are speaking with

  • Always make sure to find out the proper pronunciation of the individual's name

  • Stand with proper posture, have a firm handshake and an inviting smile

  • Keep phones off or on silent - don’t check your phone during the event

 

 

When Building Rapport

 

  • Rapport is built by learning about the individual and that requires attentive listening

  • Be prepared to speak about who you are, your experiences (both at school and outside of school) and what direction you plan to go in once you have finished school

  • Current events and news may be a great way to get a conversation going, so be sure to research current events in specific industries before the gathering

  • Learn as much as you can about the industry member and take notes – the notes will be useful for future meetings

  • If you are in a group setting, make sure to keep the industry professional as a part of the conversation

  • You can’t build rapport by monopolizing a person’s time

  • When you talk to an industry member, try to talk about information you feel is relevant to the other individual

  • Be genuine and sincere – people connect better when they feel someone is being honest

  • Try to add value to the conversation. To do this, you must listen well! For example, the industry member may mention that they don’t know how to use a certain app – offer advice or help! Offer insights into questions the individual may have.

  • Always remember networking is a two way relationship!

 

 

The Ask: Gaining Value from the Interaction

 

  • You can move on to discussing your goal (ie, an interview, etc.) only once you have established rapport, so you should not talk business first

  • Never ask for a job when you first meet

  • Never give your resume when you first meet

  • Feel free to ask for a business card

  • Try to establish the best way to follow up and perhaps even when to follow up

  • Don’t get ‘cornered’ – if you feel uncomfortable in a conversation, find a polite way to excuse yourself

 

 

When Following Up

 

  • Try to follow up on the terms that have been established during the conversation

  • Start the follow up with a thank you

  • Wait at least 12 hours to follow up and try to follow up during standard work hours

 

 

Sending Follow-Up & Thank-You Emails

Purpose

 

  • Thank-you's should be written after you have any contact, whether by phone, email or in-person, with a potential employer, or network contact 

  • A thank-you letter is intended to acknowledge the time someone has given you in your job search or information gathering

  • It reminds people of who you are, what your skills are and tells them that you appreciate how they have helped you

  • Follow-up notes demonstrate that you have good social skills and can be counted on to persevere, follow through, and follow-up

  • Because many people do not take the time to write a thank-you, it will set you apart from others

 

 

Include:

 

  • A salutation

  • What you are thanking them for

  • A reminder of something you talked about / the interview topic you enjoyed/ your skills / your interest in the position  (whatever is relevant)

  • Your full name as signature

 

 

Tips

 

  • Use the opportunity to not only thank the person for their time, but to also remind them of your interest in their industry / position (and, if you are thanking them for a job interview, your relevant skills) 

  • Send your note within 24 hours

  • Proofread your letter to ensure it is free of errors

  • Make mention of a topic or point that you discussed to make a personal connection

  • Even if you do not intend to pursue work with that company at present, a well thought out thank you letter can leave open doors and help people in your field remember who you are

  • You can send your thank you in the form of a card, letter or formal e-mail

  • Make sure you thank everyone who assists you

  • If you had a panel interview, send a separate letter to each person on the panel

  • If you are sending a thank you letter to a network contact, be sure to offer to reciprocate the favour

 

 

Sample (Email Format)

Subject: Thank-you

 

Dear Ms. Jetson,

 

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for taking  the time to talk with me on Monday October 11. It was a pleasure to  meet you face-to-face and I enjoyed discussing the many challenges and opportunities faced by the digital music industry.  

 

I was especially intrigued by your professional background and the sequence of events that brought you to your current position. As a student just beginning my career, it was very helpful to hear that good relationships, hard work and timing all play major roles in the success of any creative professional.

 

I look forward to staying in touch.

 

Regards,

 

Judith Stevens

 

 

Sending Professional Emails

 

  • If you make a professional contact, send an email the next day to continue the relationship. Try to send it during business hours (9 am - 6 pm)

  • Use a formal subject line

  • Do not use emoticons

  • Always try to find a contact name rather than using To Whom It May Concern.

  • Check for spelling and grammar before you hit send. Errors in spelling and grammar send the message that you aren't that interested in details

  • If in doubt, err on the side of formal 

  • Include: a salutation

  • Include: what you are thanking them for

  • Include: a reminder of something you talked about / your skills / your interest in the position (whatever is relevant)

  • Include: your full name as signature

 

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