“It’s not who you know, but who knows you” could not be any more true when it comes to finding a job post-graduation – or even pre. The right people can help you jumpstart your career, figure out what you do and don’t like or even act as a mentor to guide you to the top.
But that requires networking.
Going to countless events just to feel like another business card in a wallet doesn’t always feel productive. I hate it too: A room filled with hundreds of people all fighting to meet someone to change their career life. But it’s still necessary to get yourself out there and make an impression. For me, I found the perfect fit for an internship at a convention and this is how I did it:
Do Your Research
Who is going to be there? Who are the top five people you need to meet? What do you want to tell them?
Doing a little pre-work will make you more prepared and confident when you get there and nerves start to kick in.
Find a Way to Help
Don’t just have a forgettable conversation; see how you can benefit them in any way. Since you’ve done your research you might see a new project they’re working on that you have some insight on. Right now, since social media is so popular and older folks may not be as savvy, tell them a fact like posting one picture a day on Instagram is better than five, while on Twitter, the more the merrier.
Be Memorable (in a Good Way)
Stand out by making your best attribute shine. If you’re good at inbound marketing, talk about how their company’s blog is going and how you like certain things – because you did your research and know that. Or if you prefer development, compliment or (constructively) critique their website all together.
In life sometimes you just need a wingman, and networking is no exception. When you can’t seem to find the words sometimes a security blanket is needed. Can’t drag a friend along? Make one! There will be someone just like you that might need a friend, and networking with peers can arguably be just as important as with potential bosses.