In looking ahead at your future transfer and/or career endeavors, an important consideration to think about is types of networking techniques. In today’s tougher and competitive economic times, students need to be thinking about how networking and making the right contacts may benefit them in reaching their future educational and career goals. If you are new to networking, the following recommendations would be most beneficial as you plan your future educational and vocational trajectory:
- Develop a marketing message that is unique to your skills and talents; think of issues related to who you are, where you are going and why you are seeking this career path. This message will take on the form of a “script” or “pitch” that you will have ready to present when the moment arises. You may find it useful to have this handy at a job fair or Transfer Day event.
- Create a professional business card that includes your name and contact information; a few words about your career aspirations or where you currently are in your career will give your contacts a brief description of what you are about. A graphic design program or word processor is all you need to create one and it's a good idea to use high quality paper when possible. Carry a stack of these whenever you are at a networking function or just in your travels as you never know when you will encounter your next window of opportunity.
- Have paper and pen handy to jot down names; remembering a person’s name is a good first step in building rapport and enhances the relationship in future meetings.
- Follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to networking communication; this means that you talk for 20% of the time and listen for 80% of the time to get as much information as possible. If this contact is busy and rarely available, be sure to make the most of your meetings by asking open-ended questions such as “What did you major in to get into the field you are currently in?” Or,“Tell me more about your career in marketing. . . where did you start out and how did you get into the position you are in today?"
Hopefully, you will find these tips useful whether your goals are to transfer to a four-year or graduate institution or get a job in the field of your choice. Seeking out the right contacts and being prepared for networking meetings goes a long way in our increasingly competitive society and job market. For more information on this topic, visit Debt-free Scholar.com.