Networking can sometimes feel uncomfortable and intimidating, but it can be helpful to remember that it’s just a conversation. People are often willing and excited to chat with you about your work. Plus, the person you are talking with was likely in the same place you are at one time.
Here are a few tips to help you feel more comfortable when making connections this year.
Take advantage of campus networking events
More than 600 employers visit campus each year to meet with students at career fairs or other networking events. These events are a great time to start connecting with recruiters and build your network. Save the dates for our fall career days on Oct. 1-3!
Keep it casual
While it’s important to prepare a short elevator pitch about your qualifications or interests, allow the conversation to flow naturally. Prepare some questions to ask so that the conversation is not one-sided.
Ask for an informational interview
An informational interview is where you seek advice and knowledge from a professional in a field you are interested in. This practice can help answer questions you might have about what it takes to work in certain industries. It could also provide steps for how to get into a career.
Informational interviews are often informal and serve as a great networking tool to help you connect with people and careers after graduation. Do some research on your connection’s career trajectory or organization before the interview so you can ask questions that showcase your knowledge.
Connect with others on LinkedIn
You can connect with a large network of more than 180,000 CU Boulder alumni through LinkedIn. What are the odds that someone works in an industry you’re interested in? Connect with alumni over your shared interests and see how they can help you. When you meet someone new that you’d like to add to your network, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn.
Keep in touch with your colleagues
Think about the connections you already have. Do you have friends who are recent graduates? People you’ve volunteered with? Former co-workers or campus organization members? Your immediate connections can help you in so many ways – stay connected with them! Add them on LinkedIn, or schedule coffee dates or lunches to maintain your relationship. They can serve as a reference for you or even help you land a job in the future.
Remember that networking is having a conversation about your career interests and learning about someone else’s career path. Need help developing your networking strategy? Drop by Career Services Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or schedule an appointment on Handshake.