Wednesday, September 14, 2011

50 Expert Networking Tips you Should Start Using in School

For most college students, networking probably seems like something executives do, definitely not something they should be thinking about. But the truth is that networking has benefits at all career levels, and college is a great time to start building a base that you’ll be able to rely on later. Your classmates today could be your colleagues tomorrow, and your professors are important allies. Read on, and you’ll find out how to put expert networking tips to work right now, while you’re still in school.


Get started networking with these simple tips and ideas.

  1. Recognize that you need networking

    It’s not just senior executives with huge Rolodexes out there. Everyone is getting connected and benefiting from networking, and you should be too.

  2. Be yourself

    Take a personal and authentic approach to networking, avoiding events and insincere actions that don’t feel right to you.

  3. Smile

    Be a friendly, inviting person that people want to get to know.

  4. Get out of your dorm room

    Social networking online is great, but nothing replaces personal connections. Make time to attend parties and events where you can get to know others.

  5. Talk

    Spend your time as a wallflower, and you’re not likely to get to know anyone. Engage in conversations by introducing yourself and asking questions to get things moving.

  6. Participate on campus

    Spend time in clubs, associations, groups, and events that will offer you an opportunity to connect with others.

Breaking the Ice

Networking sometimes feels awkward, but you can make it easier with these tips.

  1. Possess industry knowledge

    You may not be actively working in your industry just yet, but that doesn’t mean you have an excuse for not knowing what’s going on. Know the important people in your industry, trends, and other key information so that you’ll be ready to participate in discussions.

  2. Visit professors during office hours

    Professors can be valuable for your college experience and future career. Take advantage of office hours, and engage in one on one time with your professors.

  3. Share what you love

    Be a human being, and let people know what you enjoy doing outside of your studies and future career, like a love of craft beer or an upcoming snowboarding trip.

  4. Don’t get drunk

    Avoid looking sloppy: drink in moderation when you’re attending events — but only if you’re legal!

  5. Always introduce yourself

    Be polite and remember to introduce yourself when starting a conversation or meeting a new person.

  6. Don’t be boring

    Grab attention without being obnoxious, and people will want to get to know you.

  7. Shake your fear of rejection

    Face the fact that not everyone is going to like you or want to know you, and that’s OK. Be careful not to take rejection personally.

  8. Join an alumni group

    Become a part of an alumni group at your school, and you’ll be able to connect with people you already have something in common with on a regular basis.

  9. Connect online first

    Check out the guest list for an event before going, and spend some time connecting with invitees on Facebook or Twitter so you’ll know a few people before actually going.

  10. Join groups of "open two" and "open three"

    Take a look around the room at events and study the physical arrangement of groups before you walk over to join the circle. Look for groups that have an open space, rather than trying to awkwardly make space for yourself.

  11. Be complimentary

    Sharing a compliment is so easy to do, and it makes you feel great to help someone feel better about themselves. Offer a genuinely nice compliment to someone, and get started on the right foot.

  12. Greet people at the door

    Hang out by the door, greet several people as they arrive, and say, "talk to you later," so that you can stop by and actually talk to them later.

  13. Be confident

    People want to connect with a confident person, so be sure to make good eye contact, listen, and share a strong hand shake to show you feel good about yourself.

  14. Improve your look

    No one expects college students to be snappy dressers, and that’s exactly why you should make an effort to look nice. Take time to improve your look, and you’ll stand out in the crowd.

  15. Listen more than you talk

    Talk to keep the conversation going, but recognize that listening to what people have to say is a valuable skill, and it makes your conversation partner feel great that you actually want to listen to their stories.

  16. Arrive early

    By showing up early at an event, you may have the opportunity to talk to the host, or simply connect with others before everyone else shows up.

  17. Grab two drinks

    When you walk into a party, grab two drinks at a time so that it seems like you’re looking for someone. It will let you confidently mingle until you settle in to talk with others.

Getting Connected

Networking is all about talking to people and building relationships. With these tips, you’ll find great ideas for who to connect with, and how.

  1. Connect with firms and companies before you graduate

    Find out about job openings, connect with employees and hiring managers, and stay on top of news by connecting with potential employers before you even hit the job market.

  2. Design a business card

    Before you even have a job, design a personal business card to take along with you everywhere, and share it with people you’d like to connect with in the future.

  3. Ask for introductions

    If you have a friend of a friend who can help you out with something, ask to be introduced or find out if you can tag along on an outing.

  4. Talk to your classmates

    If you want to find the contacts you’ll need when you graduate, just look around your classroom. These are the people who will be getting jobs and influencing people a few years (or months) from now, and you want to know them.

  5. Meet as many people as you can

    Get in contact with as many people as possible; you never know how can be of value to you.

  6. Start small

    If you’re intimidated by meeting new people, get started by connecting with friends of friends and become more confident as you move on.

  7. Find passionate people

    The people you surround yourself influence your life more than you may realize. Be sure that you’re connecting with people who have a passion for life, and a great interest in what you do.

  8. Volunteer

    JP Finnell recommends "volunteering yourself to the top," spending time giving of yourself, and enjoying the benefits of meeting new people and nurturing relationships.


Networking doesn’t have to be all about manpower. Put tech tools to use, and you’ll make it easier to get connected.

  1. Edit your social media profiles

    Cast a critical eye on your social media profiles and make sure you’re reflecting a person that other people want to connect with, and perhaps most importantly, hire or recommend for hiring.

  2. Register your name URL

    Create a personal URL that will be your permanent online address, and get started building a website that will represent you online.

  3. Never underestimate LinkedIn

    If you don’t have one yet, get started on LinkedIn, build a rich profile, and actively connect with others using the tool.

  4. Use Facebook for professional networking

    Chances are you’re using Facebook for friends and maybe even family, but it’s time to look at the social media site in a new way as a great tool for professional networking.

  5. Manage your contacts

    Now is a great time to set up a contact management solution, so you can have a place to start even before you’ve really started networking. With a contact management tool, you’ll be able to stay on top of contacts without a lot of hassle.

  6. Stay up to date

    It’s great to set up social media tools, but you have to maintain them. Keep your information up to date and active so that you’re engaged online.

Finding Time

As a busy student, you may not feel like you have a lot of time to devote to building your network, and that’s OK. Use these tips to fit networking into your life.

  1. Call contacts in traffic

    Take advantage of the time you spend sitting around in traffic by calling contacts. Just remember to go hands free and pay attention to the road.

  2. Aim to know the right people

    Find people that are relevant to you, rather than hoping to get something out of many people that barely have anything to do with you.

  3. Go to large gatherings

    Instead of spending time connecting with just a few people, maximize your time by attending parties where you can spend time with several people at one event.

  4. Don’t let social media take over

    Social media offers great tools for networking, but they can be huge distractions, too. Make use of them, but be careful not to go overboard and waste time on social networking sites, either.

  5. Do just a little bit at a time

    If all you have is 5 minutes, use that 5 minutes to send a quick email to a friend or colleague to check in and say hi.

Nurturing relationships

Starting relationships is not enough: you have to help them grow as well. With these tips, you can build better networking relationships.

  1. Make people feel important

    The easiest way to make people like you and want to help you is to make them feel great about themselves. Make others feel important and cared about, and they’re likely to return the favor.

  2. Stay in touch

    Once you’ve built relationships, remember to stay in touch. Spend time occasionally checking in with your contacts to keep your relationship alive.

  3. Ask lots of questions

    Let people know you value their input by asking lots of open questions for advice, guidance, and more.

  4. Be a conversation starter

    When introducing people to one another, be sure to add something interesting and fun that they can talk about, like a rock climbing hobby or recent overseas trip.

  5. Don’t be spammy

    Stay in contact, but be careful not to be a bother to your contacts.

  6. Make other people successful

    Go out of your way to help someone else achieve success, and they’ll always remember your contribution.

  7. Understand reciprocity

    Networking is beneficial for you and your career, but it’s important not to lose sight of the needs of others. Remember that you need to respond to actions and give back, or you’ll just be a taker.

  8. Use the 10 Second Rule

    Give people the time they need to say what they’re thinking. Wait for them to finish what they’re saying, and count to 10 when someone takes a pause before speaking so that you’re really sure it’s your turn.

Taken From Best Colleges Online

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