It’s a fact of life you’ll learn very quickly when you’re in college—your professional network is how you’ll set yourself up for success in your future career. However, many people consider networking itself quite challenging, and that isn’t entirely untrue. Knowing how to network is a skill that one must develop over time, but the earlier you can do so, the better off you’ll be. Here, we’ll go over some networking tips for the young professional to get you on the right track.
Seek Out Networking Opportunities
Opportunities to expand your network are plentiful when you get to college, and you should try to take as many of them as possible. Not only will they widen your network substantially, but they’ll also give you a lot of opportunities to practice your networking skills. Even if you’re more introverted, try to get to as many networking events as you can. It’ll help you work out those muscles and meet people who might be able to help you in the future.
Have a Positive Attitude
Of all the networking tips young professionals need to know, the most crucial is to have a good attitude about the whole thing. Not everyone enjoys networking, but if you want it to work, you’ll need to present yourself as someone who people want to speak to. Try to go into networking events with a positive mindset; people will be able to tell if you don’t want to be there. It’s also easier to make connections when you’re open to talking to more people.
Present Yourself Well
The way you physically present yourself is almost as important as the things you say. A polished look will get you a lot more respect and connections than showing up looking shabby. Try to keep a few things in mind when deciding on your ensemble:
- Dressing a little more business-casual when going to a casual event can make you seem more put together.
- Never wear wrinkled or worn-out clothing.
- Style your hair and keep it out of your face.
- If you wear makeup, keep it subtle.
- Wear proper shoes for the event.
Expand Beyond the Obvious
There are a few places that you’ll be able to network with ease, including classes, sororities or fraternities, and professional events. However, don’t be afraid to reach out beyond these places. You never know when someone might make an advantageous contact, so don’t hesitate to stay connected to people outside your field of study.