Making Moves: 4 Tips to Master Networking
Last week, while flipping through the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine as I waited for the train, I was pleasantly surprised to find an article on career advice. It’s not something you’d expect to see among the mag’s usual array of articles on dating, beauty, and fashion, so naturally my interest was piqued.
The article, “The Most Important Career Move to Master,” written by Mika Brzezinski, provides readers with four simple networking tips and a few that I think are easily forgotten among job seekers.
1. Decide you’re going to be ballsy as hell.
Brzezinski says, “When you start out, you don’t have a network and you’re never going to get one unless you ask for it.” This couldn’t be more true! She points to an example from her own experience when she was covering the 2008 election. A college student cornered her in a coffee shop and said she wanted to be her intern. “I don’t know how anyone that day could get two seconds of my time,” says Brzezinski, “but her drive told me she’d be perfect for the team.”
Take the initiative. If someone connects with you on LinkedIn, don’t just accept the request and be done with it. Message her back and start up a conversation.2. Talk about something other than work.
I’ve talked about this aspect of networking in a previous article and how important it is to get a little personal with contacts instead of keeping the conversation solely work-focused. Brzezinski insists that once you get the in with a contact, it’s important “to forge a genuine bond. That way, if she hears of an opportunity down the line, she’ll remember you…not just your resume.”
3. Consider happy hour part of your job.
As tough as it is after a long workday to haul yourself over to the bar or immerse yourself in out-of-office activities, Brzezinski addresses its importance. “The connections you make over, say, a 6 p.m. drink can be more solid than most relationships you forge on the job.”
This goes back to tip number one. You need to put in the effort and take the initiative to interact with new people. The only person who can truly better your life and career is you!
4. Ask the intern about her weekend.
This one managed to catch me off guard. As someone who has interned at a few companies over the years, I’ve noticed people don’t usually interact with office interns unless it’s to discuss a project or performance. But Brzezinski makes a brilliant point on this subject saying, “the intern who does the coffee runs could end up being your boss in 10 years.” How’s that for a dose of reality? Don’t let karma come back and bite you. Treat everyone with respect and kindness. You never know when you’ll see them again.