Sharing the Love: Networking

We’re all human.


Though it often seems intimidating, networking is all about making real, human connections. It can often seem daunting to start a conversation with someone you’ve never met, but it’s also one of the most useful skills to further your career. The relationships you build can open up countless doors – from getting you an interview, securing a job or giving you a mentor you can go to for career advice.


We say there’s two types of networking: meeting people in person and maintaining connections in your professional life. Here are our best tips for how to put yourself out there and make meaningful relationships.


Networking in Person


Say YES!

The first step of successful networking is just showing up. We get it, networking can be scary, which is why putting in the effort to go to events is crucial to help you gain experience, make connections and become less scared in the future. You can bring a friend or tell yourself you’ll only be there for 30 minutes – whatever it takes to get you there.


Talk to the first person you meet.

If you’re at a networking event and are worried about finding someone to talk to, strike up a conversation with the first person you see. It’ll help ease you into the event and prevent you from overthinking it too much. Just start with “hello.”


It’s just a conversation.

If you are feeling nervous going into a networking situation, remember everyone you meet is another human being – no matter if they are the CEO or an intern. Be sincere and think of the fact that you are talking to another person. If you know who they are, tell them what you admire about them. Ask them what they do and really listen. This will make the conversation more human.


Nobody is noticing you.

What we mean is that if you are standing by yourself and feeling self-conscious, remember that everyone else is focused on themselves and aren’t judging you. Don’t stress too much about what others are thinking of you.


Making and Maintaining Connections


Use your LinkedIn for meaningful connections.

Begin your LinkedIn profile while in college, not after. You’re working on your career now, not later. You may think you need to connect with as many people as possible on LinkedIn to appear well-connected, but this isn’t the case. The point of adding people on LinkedIn is so that you have some sort of relationship with everyone in your connections – so when you connect with them, it opens you up to their entire network of connections too.


Remind them of who you are.

Connect with people as soon as possible after you meet them to be sure that they’ll remember you. Always include a note with your invitation that reminds them of who you are and sets you apart. This will strengthen your connection and make it more meaningful.


The Real Deal: actual LinkedIn messages we’ve received that stood out to us.


Keep in touch.

LinkedIn is not only for making connections, but also keeping them. If you met someone at an event a year ago and haven’t spoken to them in a while, send them a message to keep your relationship alive. Don’t just get in touch when you need something. It’s okay to provide a quick update on what you’ve been doing in your career – and college is part of that career.


Make connections anywhere you can.

Remember that these are simply human relationships. The most successful interactions will occur when you can find commonality with someone and be natural. If you have an inspirational professor, feel free to try to seek their guidance outside of the classroom.


Find ways to help others.

Networking is a two-way street. If there’s a way you can help someone in their professional life, do it – not just because they may be able to help you in the future, but also because it’s the human thing to do. You never know who might know someone who can help you too.

“During college I became close with several of my writing professors simply because I wanted to spend time with them. I’ve discussed passion projects with a professor over pizza and beer and also gained a mentor who I still contact every month.”
— Employee, BrandTuitive