Networking is extremely important for students and is as easy as finding new people to talk to. The easiest method to begin networking is by finding clubs or events to join. At these events it is important to sell yourself without letting the other person know you are doing so. People don’t admit it but, you are being judged by every word you say or move you make. We even judge people because it’s how we determine whether we like someone or not. While networking might sound scary don’t worry about it and be yourself. People will be relaxed if you are and that creates an excellent environment to have a conversation.
As a student I do know that a lot of our time is valuable because of homework and exams but networking is an opportunity that we can’t pass up. Planning for the future is incredibly important and by networking you can gain more power in an interview where you might get a job offer. Although, it might sound silly at first but if you have a job offer going into an interview, you can discreetly mention that offer and you will instantly become more valuable then you were before. If a business notices that another business wants you they will find you more appealing and memorable than the other interviewees. If they also give you an offer then you can begin to negotiate. Everyone wants what they can’t have.
Before you go to these network events you should develop a strategy and I will share you my strategy after I finish describing the event I went to yesterday. The Triangle Marketing Club in Raleigh, NC was hosting an event at The Raleigh Brewing Company which consisted of crowd around fifty including five students. The speakers included award-winning social media strategist Cord Silverstein, Ellen Clemons who specializes in lean marketing tactics, and Phil Buckley who specializes in converting marketing speak into binary code. Each speaker offered different tactics to gaining a follower base for online social media. Some speakers recommended buying followers because they believe that someone with over 10,000 followers is important, despite having content that is similar to others; therefore, more followers will join. The other speakers recommended focusing on creating excellent content because people will follow, over time, as long as they find your content interesting. While both strategies are different all of the speakers agreed on treating your top 10% of followers as royalty; in doing so, create a loyalty between you and those 10% because they will be the advocates that help you grow.
At the event it is extremely important to pay attention, because my strategy is to take in all the information that was shared and implement my own conversation pieces based on that information. This way when I am having a conversation with someone I will begin sharing my thoughts on buying followers. That person and I will start to agree or debate, but eventually if my argument is sound they will take an interest in me. When that interest is created they will begin to ask personal questions like an interview. Are you a student? Where do you study? What do you do? Etc… If I manage to keep their interest then I am selling myself without them really noticing. This makes it better because they will see me in a different light compared to the individuals that enter a conversation trying to sell themselves. The major difference between the two is the approach. Specifically, if I walked up to a person and began to tell them my name and what successes I’ve had they will catch on to me trying to get a job. They’re not idiots and will quickly figure it out. However, by starting off with a different subject I will become more memorable because of the interest I created.
Overall, networking will open doors for you; and then it is your turn to walk in and get hired. If you have more than one job offer you can begin to choose where you want to work and how much you want to get paid. With more offers you have more power to negotiate and networking is the key that can open those possibilities.