Networking is like a bank account. You’ve got to grow your equity and make multiple deposits in an account before you can make a withdrawal. By building an authentic connection with an alumni or a professional over time, you position yourself to be able to ask for those bigger favors like a referral for a job/internship.
People tend to hire who they know and trust and networking can be a great way to build this knowledge and trust, but this doesn’t happen overnight. Here are a few tips and resources to help you build your reputation and continue to make deposits into the accounts of important professional relationships:
- Target professionals with whom you share commonalities
- UO alumni are often eager to help fellow ducks!
- Use platforms like LinkedIn and Lundquist Connect to find alumni and other professionals working in the roles and fields you are already interested in.
- Be consistent with your check-ins & track your conversations
- Send a thank you note within 24hrs after meeting with any professionals but also track the highlights from the conversation and set a reminder for yourself to reach back out for a follow-up conversation in the coming months. Reference previous conversation topics, to exemplify that you took note and valued their time and insights.
- Create consistent weekly goals for networking both with new connections and sending follow-up communications to those you’ve already established a connection with.
- Take full advantage of your time with each professional by doing plenty of research and identifying questions to ask that can’t be easily found through online research.
Many alumni and professionals are eager to meet with and help students but they don’t want to be treated as transactional. Instead invest time and energy into those “accounts” to build that important trust and knowledge through multiple touch points, highlighting shared interests, and being consistent.
Here are some of our favorite resources to help you improve your Networking Strategies:
More Questions about Networking and growing trust with connections? Book an appointment with Mohr Career Services here!