Communication to Connections

14 Nov

Connections is the magic word in the business arena. While bankers look for deals in their connections, undergraduate students like us utilize it to start building our career. Without connections, you will find it difficult to succeed in the job market, no matter how smart you are. While some students inherit connections from their parents, not all are so lucky. Otherwise, you will have to take initiatives to build your own.

The first step of building up your connections is joining networking events held by the school or other organizations. These events, regardless of the size and purpose, are wonderful opportunities to know more people, or even connect to job and internship offers. In these events, communication is the most important element to succeed. So here are a few communication strategies to use to build up our network:

Don’t be shy. In these networking events, the last thing you want to do is to sit down and chill with your friends. Talk to as many people as you can! It seems odd to talk to a stranger, but the people in these events are usually more friendly and approachable than you think. In fact, all those who come are happy to share their experience to you. So don’t be shy and talk more because you have nothing to lose.

Show your eagerness. When you are in a conversation with a person, show your interest by looking into the person’s eyes. You should pay attention to the person’s experience and ask intellectual questions correspondingly. You should also introduce yourself to the person and ask for contact information at the end of the conversation. A firm and confident handshake helps as well.

Send emails to link in. After each networking event you should have got a couple name cards in your pocket. Here comes the most important step: to keep contact with the people you met! In the emails you should thank them for sharing their experience. If you are interested in getting a job or internship in a specific industry, remember to ask for more information in the email as well.

After you have done all these, you are likely to succeed! You might not hear back from every person you met because they might be busy at the time being. But I am sure you will be rewarded with a couple of replies. Just remember: keep attending networking events and using the strategies above is the key to build up your own network of connections successfully.

by Jeffrey Li

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One Response to “Communication to Connections”

  1. Jake Lazarus November 16, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    I think these are all important things to do, but easier said than done! The strategies you put seem to be listed in decreasingly difficult order. The initiation is the hardest part, but once you begin a conversation, it is not nearly as difficult to show interest, and it is a cinch to send a quick thank-you email after the conversation. I also agree that it is smart to talk to as many people as possible, as that will 1) help you to improve your interpersonal skills, and 2) give you a higher probability that one or more of those companies will follow up with you.

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