Navigating in a world where being social and outgoing is praised can be cripplingly to shy folks like myself. Everyone knows networking is an important skill when it comes to finding a job, getting a promotion or making a career change. Yet, it also can be challenging for those who are just starting off with building their network or the idea of diving into a new circle to mingle doesn’t excite shy folks too much. Well, have no fear because you don’t have to love networking to be good at it. Networking is a skill that can develop over time.
Connect Via Email
Connecting via email can ease the stress of worrying about making sure you don’t stumble over your words or worse say something that can make or break first impressions with someone you want to have in your network. Keep in mind not everyone will be responsive, but that’s fine so don’t take it personal. That person can be either very busy, or the email could have gone to spam. If it is someone you really would like to network with, sending a follow-up email can go along way, or better yet see if the professional has a LinkedIn with a connection and use that common connection to set-up an introduction.
Attend Networking Events
Networking online and offline is equally important. It’s important to remember that networking is a way to build relationships, don’t put too much thought into whether your elevator pitch will blow your network’s mind. Although, that would be great, remember that they were most likely in your place once.
Utilize Social Media
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to reach out to people within in a career field. LinkedIn is a great tool, if you know someone from a distance who may have a common connection, whether it be a professor, classmate, coworker. Introductions can be done and it will make a first impression so much easier, instead of cold calling someone you don’t know too well. I’ve used LinkedIn to seek out potential people I know would be great to have in my network, who I can conduct informational interviews with about my career path. Especially those who have been in the industry for quite sometime.
Bring A Buddy
Bringing a wingwoman with you to events can come in handy. I can’t stress how many times my wing woman was able to help me initiate introductions to some really important people. Keep in mind you always want to do your part and branch out on your own, so you aren’t constantly in the shadows of your wingwoman and networking is importantly done on both ends.
There is a lot of value in having a network throughout your college experience and a great time to establish relationships that can help gear you into your career path. It’s important to remember that practice makes perfect when it comes to developing a new skill, so don’t be easily discourage if you don’t get it right the first few times.