Networking is probably one of the hardest and most confusing practices. Get comfy being uncomfy.
Think back to your awkward luau day, when everyone must have said their name, where they are from, and what major they are. I bet you don’t remember half of the people that you said that to that day.
Why? You didn’t form a connection. Networking is all about creating professional relationships.
Networking provides the opportunity to ask for invaluable advice you would have never known. Any professional you talk to was once your age and they have experience which could mean awesome advice for you.
Everyone has a story, and most people like to tell theirs. Whether it’s about career progression, or something that happened last week, you never know when you’re going to find something in common with someone else. They may have gone through the same 3 major-changing crises that you went through, or you may be from the same area; regardless it’s an easy way to connect. Some advice may even be hidden in there! (Remember the first time an upperclassman told you how to order one of Kathy’s omelets at the Pit? Case and Point. )
Ask for a Business card!
Don’t be afraid to ask for a business card. You could follow up about opportunities or whenever you feel is applicable.
Have fun and be yourself!
You step into the room, you’re sweating through your suit, or your heels are too tight, now you have to worry about being serious and talk to people. Sounds like fun huh?
It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to smile. It’s okay to not wear all black. Keep in mind that many companies recruit from on campus networking sessions. They’re looking for people who are technically competent for the job, and someone they would enjoy working with. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. If anything you will make it a memorable experience for whomever you were talking to, which your resume to the top of the stack.
Take Advantage of the Alumni Network!
The Villanova Alumni are unbelievable in my experience; helping however they can. Many companies bring alumni when visiting campus, so hop on Go Nova Jobs and scout out some companies that you may be interested in. When they come to campus you will probably have the chance to speak with an alum.
Take Advantage of the Career Center!
The Career Center and Go Nova Jobs are great resources to find companies coming to campus, interview advice, and networking tips. The more networking sessions you attend, you will feel more comfortable talking to people and making connections on the fly.
You are your best advocate, and no one knows YOUR story, better than YOU! Have a 30 second elevator pitch about WHO you are. This will give the person you’re talking to a little bit of insight as to who you are and why you’re interested in talking to them. The more unique this is, the better. You want to stand out in the pack, and with a ton of other “xyz majors” just like you, it’s important to highlight why you’re different and why you’re motivated. Keep it short and relevant!
Awkward Luau etiquette should always be avoided.
You’ll be networking like a ninja before you know it and on your way to an internship or full time offer!