You’ve heard it time and time again from your guidance counselors, teachers, friends and even your own parents: networking is important.
If you don’t know how to network for your dream college or career, you may miss out on great opportunities. Here are some great dos and don’ts for your next networking event or interview that will help you achieve your career goals:
• Speak clearly and engage the person you are speaking with. There’s nothing more important (and impressive) than a firm handshake, pleasant smile and an eloquent speaker. Let the conversation flow freely.
• Find a mentor. Whether it be a teacher, guidance counselor or someone you admire, it’s great to have someone to talk to, especially about your career goals and the field you’re interested in.
• Dress appropriately. College interviews, much like job interviews, should be taken seriously when it comes to how you dress. Ladies, it’s important to wear a skirt of appropriate length and shoes with appropriate height. Guys, make sure your hair is a suitable length and your suit is tasteful.
• Ask questions on your college admissions interviews. This networking skill shows interest and initiative. Always have a question or two prepared for when your interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”
• Make your interests known. It’s crucial for college admissions counselors or others you’re networking with to know your career goals/passions and why you love them. If you’ve enjoyed working with children your entire life, make sure the teacher is aware of that interest. If you’ve been a writer since you were little, get in touch with a journalism professor.
• Keep your social networking sites appropriate. The people you meet as you network most likely will come across your Facebook or Twitter account. Keeping your social networking tasteful is important. If you still want to post photos that are questionable—use privacy settings.
• Leave home without a pen and some paper. You’ll want to write down potentially good contacts you meet, so always have a pen and paper handy to write down names quickly!
• Underestimate the power of a thank you note. Let’s say you meet with a representative from your dream college. After the interview, you write a thank you note to the representative. Chances are, they’ll remember you and put in a good word with the admissions office.
• Worry about asking for help. Your parents or older siblings are a great resource. And if you need to vent or aren’t sure what to do with your resume, guidance counselors can help with questions or concerns, too.
• Be nervous. Many of your peers are just as scared as you are in this situation. It’s important to remember to relax.