3 Tips Professional Networking for Girl Bosses

 There are only two words that will instantly bundle some people into a ball of anxiety: professional networking. As a business major, networking has become second nature to me, but it has truly been a journey to reach the level of comfortability that I have today. Throughout college, you are often inundated with the thought of internships, research opportunities, graduate school, or getting a full-time job. While these are all great goals and accomplishments, it can be difficult to navigate and become aware of these opportunities without networking. From one girl boss to another, here are 3 tips on how to master networking to grow your professional development.

  1. 1. People Love to Talk About Themselves

    Always ask people questions about the work that they do and their career path. This can be as simple as asking, “Tell me the story about how you got to your position in [insert firm name]” or  “Can you tell me about a favorite project that you worked on?” This tactic allows you to gain insight into that person’s profession, but it will also shows them that you are genuinely interested in their career or the company. In addition, it allows for you to lighten up the conversation and transition into professional, yet relaxed discussion.

  2. 2. Leverage Your LinkedIn

    A great way to learn more about industries or positions that you are interested in is to use LinkedIn to connect with professionals with relevant experiences. If you know a specific company or position you would like to work in, search on LinkedIn for alumni from your college that has those experiences. Once you have found a couple of people, message them conveying your interest and ask to set up a time to discuss their role further. Alumni are usually always very generous with their time to pay it forward to students that attend the same college they did. This is a great way to get your foot in the door of a company because you will most likely develop a strong relationship with that person, and they will often recommend you for a future job.

  3. 3. Make Your Professional Persona Unique

    Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine while networking with recruiters or professionals. There is a misconception that being professional means that you must stick to talking about the        company, industry, or position. However, you will find that a lot of professionals prefer when they can laugh, get to know the student, and engage in lighthearted conversation with them. So, allow yourself to make an impact on them with your personality, it will give you competitive edge.

Becoming comfortable with networking won’t always come naturally, so you have to view your growth as a journey. Remember to be patient with yourself and that recruiters are people too, so they understand that it can be a nerve-wracking experience. At the end of the day, putting yourself out there into the big world of jobs and networking is something to be proud of and it still makes you a stupendous girl boss!