Navigating the world of professional networking can be challenging. To help, we recently gathered incredible women leaders from Bumble for an intimate conversation on how to expand your network, tips and tricks for job interviews, and why it’s important to network outside of your circle. Her Campus Media co-founder, Windsor Western, and her special guests shared *amazing* advice, and ICYMI, don’t worry — you can watch the replay below!
If you’re ready to level up your networking skills, we’ve got you covered. Here are three tips for networking that’ll help you land your first job or internship:
Network outside of your circle.
Chances are, you already have a bunch of existing networks to call upon, from friends and family to your classmates and peers. “It’s really important to think about who you know,” says Georgia Mavrookas, the VP of Community Marketing at Bumble. “Circles can be really simple — it’s who you’re interacting with on a day to day basis.” However, Georgia reminds us that it’s crucial to network outside of your immediate circles, too!
“Don’t just network within your group,” Georgia says. This is especially true if you’re looking to level up within your company or secure a full-time role after your internship. “Make sure you’re getting coffee chats with people across your organization,” she says. It’s important to try and understand different parts of the business, especially as you learn, grow, and try to get promoted as well.”
Remember that networking is a two-way street.
“Networking is such a buzzword, and something we toss around so freely,” says Grace Weisiger, the Associate Director of Community Marketing and Operations at Bumble. “When I think of networking, it’s not just about meeting someone,” she says. “When you’re reaching out to someone, don’t just ask ‘how can I get a job?’ Take it one step further by building the relationship, so the person is willing to help you, and you can prove you’re willing to help them as well.”
Her Campus Media co-founder Windsor Western agrees. She says that even if you haven’t been in touch with a contact for a long time, it’s important to show them you care about them, too. Windsor recommends. “If you’re reaching out to someone you haven’t talked to since high school in the hope of getting a job, you might offer to introduce them to someone at your current internship. Have an ask and a ‘give’ so it’s not just you taking!”
Networking isn’t about sending the same email template to everyone you know. Be intentional! Customize your communications to fit each person, and make a note of special things about them. Taking the time to notice their favorite coffee, a unique hobby they have, or something they shared with you during an informational interview can go a long way in the networking game.
“I was really methodical about networking. I literally had a spreadsheet,” says Georgia, who recommends keeping a list of networking contacts with special notes about each person. “Find out one thing about a person you can keep going back to,” she says. For example, if the person loves coffee, treat them to a cappuccino at their favorite spot or ask how their at-home latte art is going! “Genuinely care about them, and keep in touch with people,” she says, “even if you leave a company.”
Stay persistent — it pays off.
The process of networking and finding a job can feel discouraging, especially if you don’t have a huge network, to begin with. “You may send out 100 emails and get no response,” says Grace, who encourages recent grads to stay persistent. “It’s important to have resilience and perseverance. Keep pushing through, keep sending out messages, and keep following up in a thoughtful way.”
Georgia remembers how perseverance during college ultimately landed her a great opportunity. “I came from immigrant parents, I’m an immigrant myself, and I didn’t have a strong network other than my sorority,” she says. “At the time, everyone was working hard to get jobs, and I didn’t really know anyone.”
When a career opportunity came through for her last-minute, everything changed. “Initially, I wasn’t even on the list to interview for an internship I wanted. Someone actually canceled and didn’t come in!” After being asked to interview last-minute, Georgia landed the role and hustled to make connections during her time at the company. “I not only got the internship, but it turned into something long-term,” she says. “I ended up staying on then getting a full-time offer. They came back and said ‘I’m so glad you pushed as hard as you did.’” How’s that for hard work paying off!?
We had a blast at the Gen Hired webinar presented by Bumble, and we hope you did too! The next time you need some inspiration to expand your network and slay the networking game, remember: you have a story to tell. Be confident, stay persistent, and keep making connections! You’ll be on the road to your dream job in no time.
This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% from Her Campus.