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The Best Networking Tips for College Students and Recent Grads

By: Salma Hamze

Networking is one of the most important strategies for getting a job. According to recent LinkedIn global survey results, almost 80 percent of professionals consider networking to be the key to career success. Not only that, but 70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection. The importance of building a network cannot be understated, even more so given our current state of affairs.

It may seem scary to just go up and meet people that are in your field, especially as a recent grad who has no idea how to “adult”. How does that even work? How do you approach them without sounding desperate for a job? Where do you even start? Here are some ways for you to get started on your networking journey!

COLD EMAIL/LINKEDIN MESSAGE PEOPLE YOU ADMIRE 

One of the coolest things about social media is that it allows to find and connect with people who work at a company you’re interested in or hold a role you admire. A lot of the time, people will leave an email to contact them. Don’t be shy, use that email introduce yourself, ay what you admire about them and their work, and ask if you can connect. Worst case scenario, they leave you on read. Best case scenario, you have one more person in your professional network!

FIND NETWORKING EVENTS ONLINE OR IN YOUR AREA (IF POSSIBLE)

These are great ways to connect with people without feeling awkward. Everyone at these events is here for the same thing: gain connections and meet people. You never know who you’re gonna meet! Given many gatherings aren’t permitted in many industry hubs, follow your favorite companies and networking groups to see if they’re hosting any digital summits. Pro tip: many are free and offer major insider info!

SHARE SOCIAL MEDIA WITH THE PEOPLE YOU MEET 

Reiterating the importance of social media here! It’s so easy and such a casual way to keep up — less personal than phone number but more personal than an email. Linkedin is the ideal social media site that you can share with your professional contacts, and Instagram can be great if you utilize your platform as a portfolio for your work, too.

SEND A “THANK YOU” EMAIL TO THE PEOPLE YOU MEET. 

This is such a crucial step in your networking process. If you meet someone and they give you their contact info, send an email thanking them for their time and that you had a great time connecting with them. This way they’re sure to remember you and the conversation you had.

PREPARE AN ELEVATOR SPEECH

When people ask who you are and what you do, you don’t want to sound nervous and flustered, but you also don’t want to sound scripted. Write down a few lines that you don’t want to forget about yourself and what you want to do with your career.

This post originally appeared on MakingManhattan.com.

Follow Making Manhattan on Instagram @MakingManhattanOfficial

The founder of Making Manhattan, Caroline Vazzana, is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie ClaireTeen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of MakingManhattan.com where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC. 

Photo Credit: Glamour

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