When you’re nearing the end of your academic career, it’s time to start thinking about what comes next. For most people, the answer is to find a job! Well this can be easier said than done, especially if you have only recently moved to the United States or you don’t have a large group of contacts to fall back on. While there are all kinds of steps you can use to help you find a job, networking is arguably the most important step.
If networking is something new to you then you may be wondering what it is, how to network, and where to network. We’re here to answer all of those questions and help you become a networking pro. And as the experts say, it’s never too early to start networking.
What is Networking?
In simple terms, networking means that you connect with a network of people. In terms of networking for work/business, it means you are connecting with a network of people in the industry of your choice. The goal of networking is to meet people that can potentially lead to finding a job. The more people you have in your network, the greater the odds are of finding a job.
How Do I Network?
Networking requires communication skills, so this is a chance to brush up on them if you are lacking in this area. You need to be comfortable speaking with friends and strangers, introducing yourself, and discussing your experiences and goals. You may want to start with your friends, as these people can be less intimidating when it comes to networking. As you get more comfortable, you can begin to branch out.
Communication skills consist of two things: speaking and listening. There are times where you should be the one asking questions, and there are times where you need to be listening intently.
Where Do I Network?
Out of all the questions, this is definitely the most important one. Knowing where to network will make all the difference. Where it used to be that face-to-face meetings were pretty much the only way to network, today there are all kinds of other options. Today you can network by attending conferences, sessions, seminars, speaking engagements, and retreats if you want to network in person. This is a great opportunity to step outside your usual circle of contacts and meet new ones.
You should also be looking to network in an online setting. Social networks are ideal for doing this, so that can mean places such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more. You can even join forums and groups of industry professionals and start making a name for yourself.
Some final networking tips you can keep in mind are to have business cards with you at all times, learn how to listen to others, make sure you smile often, ask questions that show you’re engaged in the conversation, and be sure to say the person’s name that you are speaking to. All of these have been proven to be extremely helpful networking tricks.
Increase Your Odds of Employment
There is no greater way of increasing your odds of employment right out of your masters in business administration program than by learning how and where to network. It’s a skill you can use throughout your life, any time you make a job change, and as a way to learn more in your chosen industry.
(Photo Credit: Arshia Wajid/AtlantaMuslims)