22 Oct Top Networking Strategies for Young Professionals
Networking in today’s world is still crucial, and something every young professional needs to learn. Effective networking helps professionals advance their careers, find new jobs, and end up doing more in the long run. However, it’s not just for those who have been in the workforce for years. Young professionals just getting started can benefit from networking and should start learning how to network as early as possible to give them the best edge over the competition and to ensure they can reach their goals. Use the following tips to start networking today and connecting with others in your industry.
Start as Early as Possible
It’s really never too early to start networking. Those who are finishing up college can start networking before they’ve entered the workforce. They can begin attending events and meeting people in their field, meeting people who speak at their college about topics they’re interested in, or volunteering in their industry. Someone who starts networking as early as possible will be able to learn how to network more effectively and get more from it in the long run.
Follow Up Promptly
Any meetings should be followed up promptly. When the young professional meets someone in their industry or a related industry, they should ask for a business card or contact information. In the next few days, they should follow up through email or with a phone call. It’s a good idea to thank them for any information given and request a time to meet up and talk further. Keep the follow-up brief, but make sure to ask for more time to talk to start building the relationship.
Build Relationships Slowly
Networking is not about gathering as many friends in the field as possible and using names to get a better job. It’s about building relationships with those who are already in the industry and who are starting out in the industry. Relationships are cultivated slowly, with talking back and forth over a long period of time. This is not something that’s always easy to do, but it is a skill that can be learned as the young professional does it again and again.
Meet with People in Person
It’s easy to email back and forth with others in the industry, as talking in person takes more time. It’s always a good idea, however, to try to meet with the other person directly to speak with them. It takes seconds to write a brief email that answers a question, and there may not be much thought that goes into it. When the young professional meets others in person, they have their full attention, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. This helps build the relationship further and can be more helpful in the long run as they’ll remember the young professional when they might not remember sending the email.
Don’t Just Take
Networking is not about just getting as much information and help from others as possible. Building a relationship is about give and take. Even young professionals have ideas, have help they can provide, and can give their own advice to help any other professionals. When it’s appropriate, offer help. Offer to volunteer with an event or show them how to use the latest technology to do more for the industry. It doesn’t have to require a ton of time or money to give something back. The young professional just needs to remember that relationships go both ways. If they want to get something out of the relationship, they need to give something as well.
Don’t Just Rely on Technology
It’s all too easy to rely on technology to try to network. However, a long list of colleagues on LinkedIn or related websites doesn’t mean much in the long run. Just because they’re connected on the website doesn’t mean the young professional has a relationship with them or that they can provide help if it’s needed. Networking can’t be done by just creating a list of people in the industry. It needs to be done through building relationships in the industry, something that can’t be done by just relying on technology.
If you’re a young professional getting ready to start the workforce or you’re just a few years into your career, don’t hesitate to start networking now. Networking can help you go further, do more, and reach your career goals faster. However, you need to make sure you’re networking correctly. Use the tips here to start reaching out to others in your industry and to start building relationships.