So you think you know how to network just because you have 400 “friends” on Facebook? Think again. When your professors and advisors told you that networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career, they did not mean your ability to add applications to your profile page or post messages on your friends’ walls.
Networking is the key to developing professional relationships with people in many different facets of business. It is fundamental part of everyday business and is imperative to your career development. Networking provides you with points of contact for people who could help you begin your career, could do business with you in the future, or could help you develop even more professional relationships.
Some advice for networking:
- Start your Rolodex now. Maybe a Rolodex is outdated, but make sure to find a way to keep organized contact information. David Rockefeller kept a Rolodex of contact information for more than 150,000 influential people… and it worked for him. Don’t just keep contact information, keep personal details, as well. Remembering a contact’s birthday or their child’s name will go far in making you stand out in the crowd.
- Keep contact information for professors and advisors you’ve worked with in college. They have worked in the field you are studying and you may want to contact them later.
- Remember that everyone is important. Develop relationships with everyone from the CEO to interns.
- Be genuine. People enjoy helping each other when they have a sincere relationship.
- Find opportunities for networking. Join your school’s PRSSA chapter, if they have one and take the time to attend lectures on campus. Internships and volunteer work can also help you meet the people who may be able to point you in the right direction in the future.
- Join professional social networking services like LinkedIn to maximize your connections.
So what are you still doing sitting here reading this? Get out and meet people who will help guide your career!