Graduating from college is an exciting milestone, but it’s important to remember that finding a job requires more than just sending out resumes. Networking plays a crucial role in opening doors to opportunities. However, since networking isn’t typically taught in college, it can seem intimidating. One question we often receive from our clients is how to make networking conversations productive and comfortable for all parties involved. To help you navigate this process with confidence, we’ve compiled a list of valuable tips and advice. So, let’s dive in and explore how you can have productive networking conversations.
Show appreciation for their time:
Expressing gratitude is a fantastic way to start any networking conversation. Letting the other person know that you genuinely appreciate their time and expertise sets a positive tone for the interaction.
Begin with a pre-planned icebreaker:
To break the ice, do a little research on the person you’re connecting with. Platforms like LinkedIn can provide insights into common interests or the initial connection that brought you together. Sharing a friendly icebreaker based on this information helps create a comfortable atmosphere for both parties.
Clearly state your conversation goal:
Setting a clear objective for the conversation is essential. Communicate that you are seeking their advice regarding your career. This allows the other person to understand how they can assist you and provides a purpose for the discussion.
Prepare engaging questions:
Come prepared with thought-provoking questions that encourage the other person to share their experiences and insights. Here are a few examples to help you get started:
- How did you enter your industry and company?
- What skills do you consider crucial for success in this field?
- Can you describe a typical day in your role?
- What aspects of your job and the industry do you enjoy the most?
- What challenges do you face in your position?
- If you had the chance, what would you do differently?
Wrapping up the conversation:
As the conversation nears its end, it’s important to conclude gracefully. Consider asking a couple of key questions:
- Based on our conversation, are there any current job openings at your company?
- Do you have any contacts within your network who could offer further guidance or connections?
Remember to ask these questions respectfully, understanding that the other person may not always have immediate answers or available resources.
In closing, keep in mind that if you’re well-prepared to have productive networking conversations, you will provide a benefit to both parties involved. Networking is all about establishing genuine connections, so be authentic, curious, and express gratitude for the insights and time shared. As you embark on your networking journey, remember that practice makes perfect. With time, you’ll become a networking pro, forging valuable connections that will propel your career forward. Best of luck, and happy networking!