To widen my current exploration into different potential careers that are available to me after I graduate, I thought it would be important for me to gain more knowledge on how to network effectively. The idea of expanding my personal network has always been a bit daunting to me as I do not particularly enjoy bothering other people in a self-serving manner. But, as I quickly learned through the KSU Career Center’s presentation on Networking Tips, this viewpoint is completely illogical.
Allie Wright put together the presentation to show how networking is beneficial to both parties while Megan Stoltzfus moderated the student chat on Microsoft Teams. They began their presentation by discussing the positive steps you can take online to update your professional profile. This is so that when someone wants to quickly find out who has reached out to them, that information is readily available. The next step was to look at the Owl Mentor Network where you can fill out your preferences of what professions you are interested in and match with Alums that can give advice on the subject. It seemed like a tool that is incredibly useful and something that a lot of students on campus are probably unaware of.
Next, they moved the presentation to the topic of etiquette when interacting with a new networking connection. They suggested that reaching out with a brief introduction that is followed by some well-researched questions was the best way to do this. Having the message stay under 125 words is also important because more often than not the people you are reaching out to are quite busy and don’t have the time to read long messages. It became clear that if you are reaching out to someone you have to be clear and concise with what you say. Once contact is made and the person you want to learn more from agrees to have a conversation with you, it is imperative to be ready with well-researched questions that will not waste their time. The person you are reaching out to most likely expects you to be somewhat knowledgable about the career you are asking for information on so if your question can be answered by google, it wastes both parties’ time.
The emphasis on the meeting of a new connection is also on them instead of yourself. It is your job to listen to the person and intelligently respond to the information they are sharing with you. Do not try to talk over them! Finally, they closed out the meeting with information on how to properly form a thank you note for the person who you met with. When forming new connections, it is important to display your gratitude for the time they have given up to talk to you.
Overall the meeting was very informative and touched on points that I did not even consider. It showed me that you should not be scared to reach out to new people that could potentially help you with your career search. It also showed me that you need to be grateful for those that do give you their time and knowledge and that you shouldn’t take any professional connection for granted.