Three Tips for Out-of-the-Box Networking
This blog was written by an Alumni Campus Ambassador, Kimberly Pham.
“Networking” is becoming such a buzzword nowadays – everyone is talking about it, few are actually doing it, and those that are aren’t doing it well.
It is easy to go to a networking event, shake a bunch of hands, and throw around business cards – but unless the interaction is truly memorable and meaningful, chances are, you’ll get lost in the crowd.
Don’t be another casualty to the networking frenzy – follow these three steps to step out of the box, expand your network, and hopefully secure the internship of your dreams!
1. Get on Twitter.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – join Twitter! Everyone assumes it is all college girls tweeting about their breakfast, but I’ve gotten everything from job offers to dates through Twitter (seriously). Follow smartly, finding leaders and experts in your particular field. Most importantly, engage these influencers! Think beyond the 140 characters; even draft up a short post on tumblr in response to one of their tweets or use an article quote as inspiration.
Strategically use the “Favorites” function – it’s not just a way to star your friends’ funny tweets. It can be a signal that you find someone’s tweets interesting and memorable, and they will appreciate that – may even become the spark to a conversation!
Show off your personality through your tweets, a fun mix of professional and personal – everything from Wall Street Journal articles to quotes from your favorite author to Instagram shots of your walk home from class. Employers don’t want to see that you are a robot constantly sanitizing your online presence.
2. Try new networking opportunities.
Your university’s career center is a great resource - but chances are, most company presentations involve students clamoring to speak to the same person and shoving resumes in their faces. Step outside of the box and differentiate yourself through unorthodox networking opportunities.
For example, check out Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/) and attend local ones in your area that fit your interests and passions.
3. Master the art of the cold email.
Use your stalking skills (I know you have ‘em!) to find the email address of the head of the department you want / are interested in working in. Keep it short and sweet – no lengthy cover letters, just a synopsis of who you are, your story, and what you bring to the table.
NO ATTACHMENTS – you want to make your email as easy as possible to breeze through quickly! Upload your resume on Google Docs and create a Bundle on bit.ly with relevant online documents, blog posts, portfolio sites, etc. This way, they can quickly get a glimpse of your work and who you are through your online presence.
At the end, ask for a quick twenty-minute coffee to hear their story and pick their brain – who knows, this could be your chance to score a once-in-a-lifetime internship or job offer! At the very least, it is yet another valuable, relevant connection to further your network.
Follow up shortly after and perhaps ask for an introduction to someone in their network whom you are interested in meeting. Then rinse and repeat – soon, you will be networking throughout your industry with key players and heavy hitters.