2 answers

How would I engage someone to start networking?

Updated Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

I want to build relationships within my future career field so that I can aid my career progression and skill set. I know that it is important for specific situations or programs to have that one person within your close network but how would you go about engaging them in conversation. LinkedIn is a big networking tool for students and professionals but when it comes to creating a connection, I am unsure about how to go about it exectly. How would you reach out to someone that is a big motivation within your field? #college #medical #professional #networking #dental #personal-development #job-application

2 answers

Frank’s Answer

Updated Santa Clara, California

Hey Alec, good question! It's quite tough to approach someone with a telephone or electronic "cold call", get their attention, and convince them that they should connect with you or give you an "informational interview". However, it can be done through some specific actions and refining your skills in doing so. Here's some ideas:

  • First of all, in-person contact is always best (and generally most productive!) So, consider finding some Meet-up Groups in your area (if possible) and showing up for meetings in areas you're interested in. You will meet professionals in that field and like-minded individuals who will likely be more open to discussing and connecting with.
  • Check if your college or school has a mentoring program, perhaps through your major department. This can be a great way to make helpful connections.
  • Use LinkedIn like this: First, expand your network as possible, then look for companies working in areas of interest and watch when LinkedIn shows that someone in your network has connections to that company. If it's a first or second degree connection, contact your network connection and ask him/her to put you in touch with the second or third level connection, with the request that you'd like to chat with him/her for career advice or to answer some quick questions.
  • Join a professional organization (for example, IEEE, ACM, and the like. Many have "student rates" for membership, and local section meetings, too, where you can meet and converse with professionals again.

In short, try and maximize your opportunities "to be out there" and participating! The more you can meet, mix, and chat with others, the more likely it is that you'll make connections and valuable contacts. And one other important word of advice: Have some personal cards that you can hand out to the people you meet, so they remember you later, and know how to get in touch or connect with you on-line! Cards are still one of the best methods to finish a conversation in such a fashion that the other person can follow up on it later!

Robert’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas

All good info in the earlier answer. In addition, the best thing to do when you get that contact or are in a meetup/ other networking situation, is to really listen to the other person, seeking to learn what YOU can do for them. Seek to genuinely add value to them and you'll be paid back many times over. You may not think you have much to add since you're just getting started, but you could do research, connect them to other academic resources, participate in (or organize!) a study or survey, etc. Bring the value that is unique to you to the situation and you will begin building deep and valuable contacts in your network.