Tips for Successful Networking
Successful networking does not just happen! You can't simply send out a bunch of LinkedIn invitations and expect to grow your network overnight. To really develop connections and build relationships with others, you need to dedicate time, put in effort, and be strategic.
- Make courteous initial contact, requesting a reasonable amount of time (e.g. Would you be able to give me 20 minutes to share your experience with...).
- Send a brief email stating how you got the person’s name, and why you are reaching out.
- Attach a copy of your resume or a link to your LinkedIn profile, noting it is for background information only.
- Ask for information, not a job. If you make a good impression the contact will let you know of any openings.
- Arrange face-to-face meetings whenever possible.
- Use affiliations to enhance your networking, such as professional and community-based organizations, fraternities and sororities, athletic teams, etc.
- Be politely persistent. There are many reasons a person will be unavailable on the first or second try.
- Ask each contact for additional referrals to whom you can reach out.
- Develop a system (e.g. Excel database) for organizing your contact information and tracking your actions (e.g. sent an email; had a phone call; sent a thank you note).
- Follow up on leads and keep contacts informed of your progress. If you do not pursue a specific suggestion, let your contact know because he or she may have already made a call on your behalf.