5 Tips to Becoming a Networking Rock Star

Networking. Love it or hate it, it is an essential part in one’s career. Especially while in school, networking is one powerful tool, but many students fail to utilize it.

“I don’t think students are focused on networking as much as they should be,” said Natalie Busse, career services coordinator at Globe University-Madison West.

Networking

Have a firm handshake. Natalie Busse, career services coordinator, demonstrates with Veterinary Technology student, Saralyn Santoyo.

“Understandably, they are concentrating on school and their assignments. They don’t really understand that networking is very important to start now while they are still in school rather than after because you never really know when you will find your next job lead or opportunity.”

The goal of networking should be to find a genuine relationship that can benefit you and the other person. “I can’t stress hard enough that networking is very important whether you are looking for a career or if you have a job and are looking to grow and expand your connections,” Natalie added. “It’s very important to build those relationships.”

Just how important is networking?

According to about.com, about 60 percent of people find their jobs through networking.

Jigyo.com states that 80-90 percent of sales people make their business through networking.

So what can you do to gain strong networking skills? Thanks to Natalie for sharing the following tips:

  1. Arrive early: Often when you arrive late to a networking event people are already in their conversations with a group and that won’t benefit you. Arrive early to avoid this.
  2. Smile:  A smile is inviting and you look enthused to talk to other people.
  3. Avoid a rehearsed pitch: A natural sounding conversation will be more comfortable for everyone involved.
  4. Ask simple and easy questions: What brings you to this event? What do you do? Where do you work? Asking questions shows a genuine interest and you benefit by learning more.
  5. Follow up is vital:  Try to follow up 48 hours after the networking event. Exchange business cards and connect with those people on LinkedIn or email them for a follow up conversation.