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How to Network for the Young Professional
I recently attended a career seminar at my school and was reminded of a few things.

How to Network for the Young Professional

Know what networking is and what networking is not.

Networking is not about business cards, bothering people, emailing people and waiting for them to reply.  Networking is about building a wide array of connections that can put a face with your name and resume.  These connections are resources for providing guidance, support and employment opportunities.

Networking is about how you can help others, not what others can do for you.

If you think for a second that you should go to dinner with a certain person because they can introduce you to their contacts, you are doomed from the start.  Think instead about what you can offer other people and what knowledge you can provide to them.  When others see how valuable you are to know, they will immediately trust you enough to introduce you to their contacts.

You only have 5 seconds to make a first impression, make it count.

Remember to dress professionally because you want someone’s first impression of you to be very positive because that is how they will remember you.  Do you want to stand out by being the only person with jeans on in the room or the person that looks the best dressed?  The key is to look the part before you get it.

Have a one sentence introduction prepared and ready to go. 

Usually, when you first meet someone, you may not have time for an elevator speech.  But, you do have time for one sentence that says your name, what you do or what you would like to do.  This will help the other person remember you and give them an idea of what you can help them with or what you are interested in.  It is as easy as “Hi, my name is Anna and I am an MBA student looking for a marketing job.”  What is your one sentence speech?

Don’t leave home without your business card. 

Don’t be the person who forgot to bring their business card with them.  The people you meet will never remember you if you don’t give them something to remember you by.  Even if you don’t have a job, you can make your own business cards.  Check out the career center at your school for a template or you can search online to find great business cards.  It doesn’t have to say much besides your name, phone number and email address.
If you want to reach your full potential, constantly be looking to expand and further your network.  Don’t just wait until you lose your job.  The best time is now!

How do you make a good first impression?

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