Career Series: Top 5 Tips to Master the Networking Game from a Ross BBA Grad
Hi, everyone. Rachael here! As a recent graduate from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to land an internship or job. I’ve attended countless corporate presentations, networking sessions, and wrestled through many interviews. Through the ups and the downs of recruiting, I survived and I am here to share my story with you!
While at Ross, I learned tips on how to master the networking game. Even though I was a business student, I believe the rules are the same for any major. It starts with leveraging your own network, building relationships, and maintaining these relationships with effective follow-up conversations. Whether you are applying for an internship, job, or submitting applications to graduate schools, I am happy to share my advice so you can become a networking master!
Leverage Your Network
Networking can be very intimidating. The best way to start is by leveraging your own network. Make a list of everyone in your network. Reach out to close friends, family members, or neighbors and ask them what kind of jobs or graduate experience they have or had. Each person in your own network can connect you to someone else. You won’t know until you reach out and ask!
Once you narrow down the new connections you have, start to prepare for future conversations. Do your research! Read about the company, school, or program ahead of time. For companies, great resources to use are vault.com or glassdoor.com. For graduate programs, make sure you read the university’s website and understand what options and programs are available. Then, make a list of questions to ask the individual ahead of time so you are prepared for the conversation. This will help take some of the nerves away too!
During your conversations, make sure you are being genuine. Don’t just ask for a job, but ask for advice and be specific about what your interests are. Focus on asking your contact personal questions about their experiences. Once you establish the relationship, ask if they can connect you to someone else. This is the most important part! It will help you grow and build your personal network.
Follow-Up is Key
Be prompt! Within 24 hours, reach out to your contact and thank them for speaking or meeting with you. You can follow-up by phone call, email, or a handwritten letter. Make it short and sweet. However, if something stood out to you during your conversation, make sure you mention it. Being personable and memorable is very important during the networking process.
Once you start to build your new network, create a document or an Excel sheet that helps you remember who, when, and why you connected with each person. This will make it a lot easier to maintain the relationships you build over time. Even when you do get the job you want or get into the school of your dreams, never stop networking! Reach out to the contacts you have every 3-6 months to check-in. They might help you start a new adventure some day!
While other students may hear similar advice about networking, not everyone has an awesome Seelio portfolio like you do. This is your time to shine! Help yourself stand out to anyone you’re networking with by adding your Seelio link on your resume or in an e-mail during the follow-up process. Within an e-mail, add a sentence about how to see more of your past work, academic, and volunteer experiences by viewing your portfolio. Another option is to include the link in the signature of your e-mail. This will encourage employers or admissions directors to click on the link to and access your portfolio.
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Best of luck!