How to Step Up Your Networking Game


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Image via Mom It Forward

The ever-pending question of “what am I going to do after school?” for college students may be looming. Networking is the key to ensuring a high level of success in your future. Underclassmen may be networking for the sake of their networks, such as making the most out of career events and people skills to pocket some business cards for future reference. Upperclassmen may have their sights set on securing a job post graduation or getting a leg up during an internship. There are a lot of fine points when it comes to building a professional network, and zeroing in on the details can make some major improvements in your game. Here are some of the questions you need to consider:

How would you describe yourself?

There’s no need to go into existential extremes when asked to make an introduction. Identifying the level of detail required for your introductory moment allows some wiggle room for your personality to shine. Walk through three key parts that should be standard in your schpiel: your reason for being here, relevant experience, and end goal. Aside from your full name and place of origin, you’re essentially pointing out this is who I am, this is what I do, and this is what I want to do. The more you grow personally, the more your answers will evolve professionally — which is precisely what you want to happen in your network.

Why am I here?

Finalize this answer before you step on the scene or press “accept”. It is possible to have a list of reasons for your attendance, but come up with the most concrete response that correlates to your relevant experience and end goal. This question is also going to help you become better acclimated with change.

What have I done?

Your resume is everything that you have accomplished thus far. The great thing about networking, however, is that you are capable of identifying your audience immediately. There are some areas in your repertoire that may not be considered “work”, such as class projects and hobbies. Fortunately, the little things about you make you stand out to your superiors and colleagues.

What do I want to do?

This question should be taken one day at a time. Goals can be categorized into short-term and long-term, but define your immediate end goal as what you’d like to have accomplished at the end of the meeting, event, or season. Staying specific demonstrates organizational and strategic ability — something fellow colleagues and employers look for at all times.

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Grace Williams

Teenaged college graduate. Pizza advocate. Happy dance aficionado. From New England to Central Florida and beyond.