How To Perfect Your Networking Skills

How To Perfect Your Networking Skills
Strategy
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

So you have a 3.9 grade point average, are president of 3 campus organizations, captain of your varsity team and you want that investment-banking job at Goldman Sachs. Turns out, you’re not the only one with the same credentials.

There’s a sea of applicants with the same grade point average that are also president of three or more clubs on their campus—just like you! And if this doesn’t discourage you enough, you’ll be surprised to learn that some of these applicants are probably Fulbright Scholars, National Merit Finalists, and founders of non-profits and start-ups.

If this sounds like you, the time has come to separate yourself from the pack. You may have heard the saying “it’s not what you know but who you know that matters.” The phrase cannot ring any more true in our current job market. Having a network is essentially building your social capital while casting your ‘safety’ net—that is, a solid network can help you not only get that first job but switch jobs when need be.

Below are 5 ways to build your network

Networking is a marathon. Not a sprint.

It is off-putting to recruiters to try and rush the entire process by competing with everyone looking to apply for the same kind of job you are, especially those with prior experience. It is important to realize that by starting late you put yourself at a disadvantage simply because others have had a head start (that includes those with offers). But it is not hopeless.

You can make breaking into your desired field a long-term effort that you will come closer to each day by building relationships with alumni, friends, and acquaintances. The alternative, which is cold-calling companies until you get lucky may not be so much fun. What you need to do is consistently reach out to as many people who have any sort of an in with potential employers as possible.

Find Commonalities

It is important to keep in mind that maintaining a strong relationship with an alumni or recruiter matters a lot in networking because most of the time it boils down to what you and the person you’re trying to get in touch with share in common.

If there is a list of alums to reach out to form your school, narrow down the list to people who may have joined the same clubs you did, or played the same sport you played, or studied the same major. It helps to break the ice in the initial conversation.

Offer a Quid pro quo

We’re all networking to get something. One of the most underrated and overlooked strategy in networking is giving before receiving—and we’re not talking about taking the person you’re reaching out to a five-star restaurant for dinner.

Networking is a two-way street. The key here is to build the relationship rather than using the person. You can simply share with them an article, a book, or something you find interesting about their company. If you’re willing to go a small step further, it doesn’t hurt to offer to pay for that cup of coffee or lunch when you two have finally met.

Have a story

This may strike you as common sense but you would be surprised as to how many people get in contact with alumni but aren’t prepared to sell themselves. It is important to fully understand why you want to work for that company, the specific position, and why you’ve decided to reach out to that contact. Having a good story not only makes it easier to relate to the person you’re reaching out to but reduces the awkwardness of the conversation.

Be consistent and focus on quality

3 strong relationships with recruiters or alumni are always better than 6 acquaintances that lack consistency.  Follow up with connections you have made by maintaining those relationships. This can be as simple as emailing, making phone calls or setting up meetings. It is hard to do so with 15 or more people so it is wiser to choose people who you’ve made a significant connection with.

Caveat: Never discount networking with an analyst. They can offer valuable insight on the recruiting process and getting your foot in the door.

Peter Elliott | Elite. 

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Preston Waters

Preston Waters is a thinker. He's not your traditional philosophical persona, however, as he leaves no topic untouched. Covering all the bases, from business to women, Preston Waters is the ultimate man's man for Gen-Y.

More In Strategy

Strategy Laura Argintar

College Job Site Helps Students Find Jobs They Can Balance With Class

Looking for a way to battle that awkward Thanksgiving conversation about your future plans after graduation? Want to get a head start on saving up for your own place? Enter Campus Job. Campus Job is the largest online marketplace that connects students with part-time jobs and internships. It’s live at every single college and grad school […]

Strategy Samantha O'Connor

5 Types Of Professional Bridges We All Eventually Burn Throughout Our Careers

What do 20-something interns, 30-something associates and 40-something CEOs have in common? They’ve all made a few enemies and burned a professional bridge or two along the way while climbing the corporate ladder. That’s right; despite what your conscience tells you, you’re not the only one with a professional rival. It’s something that’s not usually broadcast […]

Strategy Jamelle Sanders

Millennial Debt Prescription: 5 Ways To Rid Yourself Of Debt

As a business coach and Millennial, I am always researching strategies to improve my financial acumen and to empower me for even greater financial freedom. Sadly, I do not meet many other Millennials who share this belief or concern. Research shows that more Millennials are taking steps to secure their financial futures. However, what we […]

Strategy Joshua Fechter

10 Ways To Get Your Dream Job At A Top Tech Company

We all want an amazing career, but wanting something isn’t always enough to get it. And if that something is a job at a top tech company, your life just got a whole lot harder. Even though just getting an interview at a top technology company is extremely hard, there are ways to make it […]

Strategy Joe Belsterling

3 Things You Need To Know Before Crowdfunding Your Startup

More and more startups and entrepreneurs are turning to crowdfunding these days and not just equity crowdfunding (i.e. Wefunder), but rather, perk crowdfunding (i.e. Kickstarter and Indiegogo). Crowdfunding can be a great tool for startups and provides much more than just funds (e.g. market validation, a loyal customer base, early adopter market, etc.), especially for younger, […]

Also On Elite

Sports

Insane Bathroom Brawl At 49ers-Chiefs Game Gets Completely Out Of Hand (Video)

The San Francisco 49ers debuted their brand new Levis Stadium this season, which is now arguably the best in the league. Unfortunately, some of the same problems that plagued them back at their old digs for countless years followed them to Santa Cruz. Niners fans are notoriously raucous, however, an ugly bathroom brawl during Sunday’s […]

TV

Jimmy Kimmel Becomes An Uber Driver And Picks Up People Around LA

Ride-sharing app Uber has had its fair share of public relations debacles of late, but hopefully, this will help improve the company’s image. Jimmy Kimmel signed up to be an Uber driver and ferried unsuspecting passengers around Los Angeles. The clip focuses on one particular passenger named Eric. Eric, understandably, kind of freaked out when […]

Wellness

6 Types Of Friends You’ll Find Yourself Breaking Up With In Your 20s

Recently, my social media outlets have been blowing up with memes about how “the best friends are the ones who have known you the longest.” Or, “your best friends are the ones from childhood.” Blah, blah, blah. While I can appreciate the sentiment and well-meaning nature of these statements superimposed over cheesy stock photos, I […]