Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

"Do I know you?" Tips for networking

By MANI KEITA | April 17, 2014

“Do I know you?” The real question is: should I know you?

In the wake of alumni weekend, I think it’s important for us to talk about networking. I’ve heard people say that it’s not about what you know, but rather who you know. This seems to be a valid statement (although learning job skills is still VERY IMPORTANT). Don’t make the mistake of going through four years of college stuck in the MSE or in Brody without getting to know anyone.

Connections can land you a job.

Connections can earn you more money.

Connections can land you an internship.

Connections can land you a research position.

Connections can give you access to opportunities you would have never had before.

Luckily for you (and me) there are many tips out there for networking. Here are a couple:

1. Start small.

You don't have to network with 15 people in one day (although I would start asking you for tips if you did). Start small and take your time. In most cases, quality is more important than quantity. So, when it comes to choosing who to connect with, choose wisely.

2. Keep your initial method of contact simple.

There is no need to eyeball a person awkwardly for 30 minutes before approaching him/her. Smile. Ask an engaging question. Listen. Get the business card. During your conversation, find a way to relate the person’s field of work to something that interests you. Then, show them that you would really benefit from their advice.

3. Be yourself and tap into your passions.

Connect with people who are involved in your field of interest. If you are already passionate about the subject, then you will be able to have a more involved conversation with the person. Most importantly, relax and be yourself (well, be your professional self).

 

4. Attend the RIGHT events.

So where are you going to find these awesome connections? The answer is everywhere, but there is a way to go about pinpointing exactly where. If your passion is engineering, or medicine, then attend events where those topics are the focus. You can also keep your eye out for departmental events.

5. Be ready to answer questions.

This will be easy if you’re talking about a topic that interests you. Even so, you may get tongue-tied, or someone may ask you a curveball question. Prepare yourself in advance by having your friends ask you questions. It also pays to have a safety answer like, “I’m not sure, however I would love to learn more. Do you know of any resources I could use to learn more about this topic?” This type of answer shows your willingness to learn and your ability to adapt to unknown situations.

6. Send follow up emails.

You really need to prove to this person that you are just as motivated about the topic of interest as s/he is. In your follow up email, be sure to thank the person for speaking with you. Mention something unique about his/her work that interests you. Show your willingness to learn more and then ask for a meeting, an introduction to anyone that the person thinks may be able to help you, a link to any job/internship openings, etc.

7. Get your rejection vaccine.

This is very important.

You need to start immunizing yourself against the negative effects of hearing the word “no.” Don’t give up hope just because one person may be a dead end. Stay focused and try again. If you end up getting a lot of no’s, try to re-evaluate your approach. If your approach is fair and valid, then look for different people to network with. In the end, all the no’s you received will only make your success story more interesting.

These are just a few tips to get you started in networking, or to help fine tune your networking skills. Google is a great resource for more tips. Good luck!


Have a tip or story idea?
Let us know!

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The News-Letter.

Podcast
Multimedia
Be More Chill
Leisure Interactive Food Map
The News-Letter Print Locations
News-Letter Special Editions