Networking Tips from Career Coach Amy Wittmayer, MBA ’04
By Amy Wittmayer, MBA '04
Networking is probably the most misunderstood activity in your professional life and career search. The goal of your networking should be a genuine and mutual relationship with other professionals. Here are a few tips to keep your network healthy, especially during these uncertain times.
1. Network Outside the Office: Invite a small group for lunch or drinks. Host a small party. People will appreciate the opportunity to relax as well as your efforts to coordinate.
2. Maintain Your Network: Stay in contact through brief LinkedIn emails or notes. Include an anecdote from a prior interaction or a link to an article that pertains to them. Remain present in the minds of your colleagues.
3. Be a Selfless Networker: Don’t wait until you’re “in need” to network. Attend events even when you’re not actively looking for a job. This allows you to give back and ensures your attendance is genuine.
4. Make the Most of Your Meetings: Share your goals, but don’t ask for a job. Take the opportunity to gain a perspective on the industry, career advice, or thoughts on how to best transition to your next position. Ask specific questions to highlight your knowledge, company/industry research, and unique skills.
5. Search for New Additions to Your Network: Use multiple avenues to find contacts that relate to your career goals. These avenues include your undergrad alumni association, McCombs alumni database, LinkedIn, and general web searches.
6. Organize Your Networking Efforts: If you find it difficult to stay in contact, spreadsheets can help you organize, sort and identify gaps in your network. Include a follow-up date for all contacts.