Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Networking Tips 101

Networking is now a huge part of today's culture. LinkedIn, Facebook, even Yahoo! Jobs and Monster. I've recently connected with sorority sisters I haven't spoken to in several years about jobs, graduate school, and cities to live in. And why not? These are people I trust to tell me the truth and vice versa. They are people I can honestly vouch for, because even though we were "just" sorority sisters, I know about the person they really are.

I have a freaking awesome job at a pretty incredible company. It just so happens that my company is also very reputable and well-known. Since I can't really keep my mouth shut about anything, people know that I love my job and love where I work, so I get a lot of requests from friends for job recommendations, thoughts, help, etc. Or maybe they just want me to forward a resume, but they end up getting my unsolicited and self-proclaimed fantastic advice.

But sometimes, I get messages and I do a little head tilt. Is this person seriously asking me to answer these questions? Have they done any research about this company? I mean, have they even looked at the website?

So, I thought I'd offer a few networking tips that I think are helpful as we 20'somethings try to navigate the world of networking with our peers.

1. Get the name of the company right. There are a lot of competitors in the market. If you want a job at Home Depot, I wouldn't advise sending an email to an old friend asking about their job at Lowe's...

2. Remind them about what you have been doing! Sure your title may explain it all, Internal Controller and Director of Mapping Operations, but that title doesn't mean diddly squat to me. "As you may know, I've been working at ___ doing ___." Simple! And now the person you are reaching out to has a quick refresher of what you've been up to since you last spoke!

3. And then tell them what you want to do, and make sure it's what their company does if you are asking for a referral. If you are really wanting to be an IT consultant, make sure that the company actually does IT consulting!

4. Do some brief research. If you are looking for a job in San Fransisco, make sure they have an office there. Try to understand what the levels are within the company - don't ask about analyst positions if the new company calls them associates!

5. Don't be afraid to reach out! I'm always impressed with the people who reach out to me. I'm never leaving my job, but if I did, I sometimes wonder if I'd be brave enough to put myself out there and network with friends.

What are some of your best practices for networking via your social networks?

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