Friday, June 18, 2010

Sun! Fun!! Networking!?!

Bet you didn’t know that the guy standing next to you at the Black Eyed Peas concert works at that really great company you’re dying to intern at, did you? Summer networking opportunities present themselves when you least expect it—you need to be able to spot opps and take advantage.

But we all want to have fun during the summer and networking sounds, well… pretty boring, right? WRONG! Networking can be FUN (especially in summer) and here are some tips to make networking summer-worthy.

1. Make your parents happy and go to that neighborhood BBQ

Free food – good; being outside on a fabulous summer day – good; meeting new people who have established careers – good! When you get invited to go somewhere with your parents and their friends, think about how you can make it fun. I usually try to make a game out of networking (because it is not something I naturally like to do—oops, was I supposed to admit that?!). How many new people can I meet? How many people can I get connected to from the people I meet? Can I learn 5 new things about career fields? The possibilities are endless!

2. Pay attention to what is going on around you

Ever get so focused on one thing that you are completely oblivious to everything else going on around you? It happens to everyone from time to time, but you might miss a great opportunity if you don’t look around. Be willing to explore this summer; join a summer kickball league to meet new people, go somewhere you have never been and pay attention to the people you see, set up an informational interview with someone in a career field you might be interested in, but never thought of before (maybe the career field you learned about at that BBQ?). How aware do you think you are? Test your awareness hereà

3. Be ready to talk to people

If I said, “So, tell me a little about yourself,” would you have a response? Since this is going to be your summer of networking, you need to figure out how to tell someone about yourself in a brief, but effective way. Perhaps you might say something like this: “My name is Jane Smith and I am a junior at Marquette University studying Writing Intensive English. I have been really excited about my major lately because I just finished an internship this past spring in a publishing setting and I loved the fast-pace and working with different people. I am hoping to continue gaining experience with professional writing this fall and am looking for opportunities to pursue.” You never know when you can make a connection with someone—all you need to do is tell them what you hope to do.

4. Stay in touch!

After meeting all of these great people this summer, you will need to maintain your relationships. Stay connected through LinkedIn, e-mail short notes with helpful articles or other information to share, and let your contacts know what is going on with you. You must maintain your relationships or all of your hard work (and summer fun) will be for nothing.

Need more help with Networking? Come see us—we are open all summer (even for phone appointments!). To make an appointment, call 414.288.7423.

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