Networking 101: 5 Top Tips

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to be a part of the CMNSU: Careers in Communication panel. It was an info-session for upcoming grads to learn more about the opportunities available to them in various industries. I’ve had some time to digest the information and here are my favorite do’s and dont’s for a young professional hitting the job scene.

1. Don’t ask ‘what their day to day looks like’

Every day is different and dynamic, so no one is going to tell you they do the exact same thing every day – that’s super boring. Instead, ask what is the biggest challenge they faced that week and how they overcame it. You never know, you could help them find a solution to a current issue they are facing!

2. Do your homework!

If you’re coming to talk to a specific person, look them up on LinkedIn ahead of the event. Ask questions about their previous experience, skills or volunteer work. This is your opportunity to shine, especially if you’re in a roundtable discussion you can help guide the conversation to focus on what really matters – learning more about that person!

3. Don’t ask if they like their job

Maybe, maybe not. How someone feels about their career should not sway you in either direction. Instead, ask about the team culture and previous campaigns. You’ll learn a lot by listening to someone describe their team environment and projects.

4. Do bring a business card

An old tip, but a good one! Exchanging business cards is a great way to stay in touch with someone after an event. After your discussion ends, write down a quick reminder about your conversation with that person on the back of the card, it’ll make connecting with them later on much easier. Also, it’s a great way to end a conversation with someone, so you have more time to meet other people!

5. Send a follow-up email or LinkedIn message

If you had a great conversation with someone and you exchanged business cards, follow-up on LinkedIn and ask for an informational interview or a quick coffee. Use this time wisely! If someone agrees to meet with you, be prepared with questions. If there’s a job opening be upfront about the fact that you’re looking to find out more about the role.

At every event, there’s an opportunity to network and meet really great people. Not every opportunity has to translate into a new job or opportunity. The best interactions you’ll have are when you are authentic and ask engaging questions!

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