Submitted by Ashley in November 2012
Networking is one of the most important things for a business student to learn. Building a network of contacts can serve you in your future career. By attending network events and using websites, you can find future partners. This network of classmates and professionals could eventually serve as a network of suppliers, employers, employees, clients, and even business partners. The contacts that you build while receiving your education can help support you throughout your entire career. Here are some simple tips that will help you throughout your life.
1) Be Social:
- By communicating with your classmates, you’re building relationships with people that will be in the same field as you.
- You can keep up with these classmates or future business partners, by keeping a spreadsheet with contact information such as their name and potential occupation. Note down items such as significant others, pets, and if they have kids to help build a future relationship. It’s very helpful when a few years pass to know this information. It shows interest and helps build the relationship.
- Use social media and have a Linked in account, Twitter, or even a Facebook to help you keep track of your classmates. People change their phone numbers and email addresses, but they tend to update these in social media applications. Thus, it is easy to communicate with someone years after you graduate.
2) Getting Involved:
- Schools often offer opportunities that allow business students to get involved in the business community. Things such as internships or work study programs give students a chance to meet individuals that may become future employers.
- Many offer opportunities to become a part of local accredited organizations like the Project Management Institute or American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These organizations hold meetings where local professionals look to discuss their professions. They often look to fill open vacancies for employment at these meetings. Being in as many of these organizations as possible will help get your name out into the business world while also allowing you to meet new contacts.
- Volunteer to work professional days such as career fairs or training opportunities from accredited organizations so you can meet different people.
3) Taking Initiative:
- If you can’t find an organization that fits what you want to do I suggest you take initiative and create your own organization. Social media groups, like LinkedIn Groups, make it easy to start a professional group and maintain contacts.
- Have business cards to hand out at the many events you will attend.
- Finally, develop and practice your elevator speech often. You need to develop a 30 to 60 second script that allows you to sell yourself to someone as a professional. It’s very important to know what you want to say when you bump into someone important at a coffee shop, professional meeting, or out with friends.