We often hear about why it is important to network to boost our working contacts, but also it can be of use when trying to break into a new field, role, or simply finding a new job. Networking is not just working the room but instead allowing yourself to meet like-minded people who can help you broaden your knowledge of a particular field or the company you wish to work for.
With that in mind, we would like to give you some tips on how to prepare for your next networking experience:
- Do your due diligence and prepare, check the event website and see whom you would like to meet there
- Prepare a 10-second self-introductory speech and your elevator pitch
- Make a goal of what you want to achieve from this experience; sometimes, the goal is just to start mingling with people from your field
- Research some topics to discuss with attendees; for example, if the workshop is about a particular subject, be ready to share your insights with other participants
- Have your information ready to exchange with attendees (i.e., QR code for your Handshake/LinkedIn or resume)
- Never dismiss someone as unimportant, they may not be valuable at the moment, but you don’t know what connection they might have
- Approach people who are by themself; this is a way to meet someone who might be as shy as we are
- Follow up; if you say you will contact someone, don’t miss the opportunity to send them an email afterward; it only takes a couple of minutes
Where to network?
If you are unsure where to start to network, here are some ideas:
- Professional Associations
- Job fairs
- Public speaking Events
- Networking events.
To support the career development of SEAS graduate students, the W. Scott Amey Career Services Center established a Graduate Student Professional Development Fund. This fund will cover up to $200 for conferences and association membership of their choosing. If you need more information please go to our website and apply before May 6th.
Networking doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience. If you are still unsure about attending a networking event, you can start by being more active on social media. George Washington University has a great network called Handshake; this platform is a great tool that can enable you to increase your online visibility. The platform allows students to connect with an open position; however, employers are on Handshake to hire students like you for jobs and internships. Your profile in Handshake allows employers to review your background and experience, so never forget to update it. We currently have an Apple AirPod raffle for SEAS students who complete their Handshake profile by June 6th, 2022. If you are interested in learning more about the raffle, you can learn more about it here.
Go! Start networking!