Around this time of year, many young people are exiting college and entering the workforce. There are of course many tips they should keep in mind to improve their odds of landing dream jobs.
However, one of the most important is one of the most basic: network. In virtually any industry, knowing the right people (and making the right impression on them) can help you get ahead fast.
That’s why new grads should keep the following specific networking tips for college graduates in mind. While they don’t replace hard work, they do make getting a job after college much easier.
Essential Networking Tips for New College Graduates
Do Your Reading
Before you even pursue the kinds of relationships that can help you further your career after graduating, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to make a good impression on anyone with whom you’ll be networking in the near future.
All college grads should read Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. This is one of the few major self-development books that remains popular nearly a century after its initial publication because it’s filled with genuinely practical advice that almost always yields results. After all, you don’t want to meet someone who could theoretically help you land your dream job, only to botch the opportunity because you didn’t know how to charm them.
Don’t limit your networking efforts to one strategy. You need to cast as wide a net as possible to optimize your chances of meeting the right people.
Network on LinkedIn. Attend networking events. Reach out to friends, family members, and anyone else who might be able to help you get a job somewhere (such as professors or former employers). The more proactive you are, the more likely you are to build a robust network.
Stay in Touch
Meeting people isn’t enough. Once you add someone to your professional network, you need to stay in touch with them consistently.
For instance, maybe you meet someone at a networking event working for an organization you’d love to join, only to learn they don’t have any place for you at the moment. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t have a spot for you in the future. If you maintain your network by remaining in contact with these types of people, they’ll be more likely to remember you when opportunities do arise.
Networking shouldn’t be robotic. You don’t want the people you meet to feel you’re merely using them as a stepping stone in your career. You should network with people in an authentic and grateful manner. Treat these relationships like real friendships.
Just keep in mind that these types of people will often understand that, to some degree, you certainly wouldn’t mind if they helped you get a job. That’s why you need to be confident when asking for contact info or asking about potential employment opportunities. You’re not going to shock anyone by letting them know you’re interested in a job.
Most importantly, keep at it. These networking tips for new college graduates will absolutely help you find work more easily, but they don’t guarantee overnight success. Networking takes time. Just remember that.