This summer, I have learned a decent amount about networking. Everyone says networking is the best thing you can do for yourself, but it’s not a new idea. The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has been around for a long time. First, networking takes a surprising amount of work. You need to seek out opportunities to network, and, when you go to events, you have to be mindfully engaged. Asked questions, be memorable. You can’t just hang around and zone out, or it’s pointless. After you meet people, remember their names, collect business cards, and follow up by connecting with them on Linkedin. Have an elevator pitch ready for what you do and why you like it, or for what you want to do.
Additionally, your reputation matters. It’s a small world, and, I’m surprised by how, especially if networking within the University of Michigan network, I meet people who know people I know. Mutual connections can be your friend if you make them be.
Lastly, creating your network should be intentional you can have fun with it. But, networking is not the end all be all. It’s important and can help you, but focus on doing well where you are at- sometimes that can end up being the most productive networking of them all.