- Have a plan. Assess your interests and skills: Know what you are trying to gain from networking. Are you looking for a job, a recommendation, or just advice?
- Make personal connections. Stay professional, but find common ground to discuss. This could be about topics such as movies, hobbies, or other interests!
- Make a strong first impression. Maintain good posture and eye contact and smile when introducing yourself. Make sure to state your first and last name clearly.
- Choose a professional tone rather than informality. In all contact, make sure to remain professional and courteous.
- Be Prepared. Prepare for this opportunity by researching the field or organization and compiling a list of your questions. Do basic research on your mentor so you can ask more specific questions.
- Follow up. Ask new connections how to best stay in touch. Make sure to send a professional “Thank You” message within 48 hours of your conversation.
Things to Remember:
Say thank you. Your contacts will appreciate that you recognize and value their efforts, whether your thanks comes in form of an email, a handwritten note, or a phone call.
Networking is a two-way street. Don’t merely focus on your own needs; try to find ways to develop a mutual support system.
Remember, these professionals are typically very busy with work and other obligations. Realize you may need to try more than once to contact them and that they may not respond at all. Allow a minimum of one week between your initial contact and a second attempt.
Questions to Ask:
- How do you go about building/maintaining your network?
- What professional experiences did you have that led you to your current position?
- How did you figure out what you wanted to do with your life in terms of career?
- What was a key lesson you learned early on as a young professional?
- What is a typical day like in your job?
- If you were starting college all over again, what would you do differently and why?
Be Creative! These mentors are here to help, make sure to bring insightful, relevant questions to every conversation. Basic research on your mentor can help you think of mentor-specific questions.
Always remember to send a thank-you email to your mentor within 48 hours of your meeting! Good Luck!