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How should I make connections with people?

#career #connections

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Subject: Career question for you

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James’s Answer

In addition to the response Gloria provided, I would recommend a few practical items:

Start with professional circles that you already have access to - find out what your friends' parents/family members do for work and, if interested, ask if you can talk to them about their line of work. They will also be able to refer you to individuals in their field so you can grow your network.

Talk to your teachers / faculty in your school about how you want to grow your network (for example, if you're interested in marketing but don't have a lot of contacts in the industry). Chances are that they know someone in the space and would be more than willing to connect you to them.
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David’s Answer

This is a really important question because it's not a skill that is often taught or even talked about. The most important thing to keep in mind is that most people enjoy connecting with others, like finding common ground, and want to learn about other people that are in their network -- or at least the people you want to know think of it that way.

A good first step is to consider your networking strategy. What are your goals and objectives and what type of person could help advise or further connect you? Share this with with your current network and see who they might suggest you meet. Also, joining groups, clubs, and volunteer organizations is an outstanding way to build a network.

I really do think that you have to really believe that many, many people are delighted to meet, speak with, and assist in network building for students or individual early in their career. Take advantage of that.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Anna,

I am assuming from your question and the fact that you are posting it to this site, that you are looking to make professional connections. In other words, you want to know about networking. I did a search for an article with a focus on networking in your late teens.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/02/5-networking-secrets-every-young-person-should-know.html

The greatest challenge that I have with networking is following up. It can feel awkward and unnecessary but it is vital. So how do you do it? Make sure that you reach out regularly. This can be by sharing a link that you know will interest the person you want to stay connected to, in social media, email, or text. This can even be sharing jobs that they might have skill in. I have referred people in my networking to companies for jobs. You can also make sure to invite those individuals to events of shared interest. Or if you are in a group, make sure to go to the regular meetings. I am not sure what industry you want to enter, but if there is a business association, join it. That way you have a regular way to connect with your networking, seeing them regularly.

Gloria
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David’s Answer

Hi Anna,

Great question and nothing that is taught in a classroom typically.

I feel as if networking is critical and can make your life much easier down the line. The biggest struggle that I have experienced myself is being hesitant to make outreach where it could benefit me.

The best methods that I have seen for making connections is using platforms such as LinkedIn or other types of social media. The biggest areas in where I have made connections in the past is from people that I have met during my time in school or now at work. In addition, extra curricular activities such as sports, clubs, etc. has proven very helpful in meeting new people and finding common interests with others. Even if there is something you do not typically do, it can not hurt to show up and be a part of something. Chances are you will meet someone you did not know previously or even learn something new.
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Dimple’s Answer

Networking and maintaining the contacts made are hard. It requires going outside your comfort zone if you are an introvert. In addition to all the resources mentioned, you can, also look into free webinars in your area of interest, free networking events online, volunteer events, joining a social club like toastmasters all are opportunities to network and expand your reach. You can also create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting and following people in your sphere of interest. Post samples of your work and invite feedback. Hope all of these help you in taking steps to begin networking.
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