Daniels accounting student shares how he received six internship offers through effective networking
Have you heard repeatedly that networking is the best business skill you can have to further your career? Now, have you ever wondered what that actually looks like? Specifically, when should you start networking? Where? With whom? And what should you talk about?
I was in the same boat. Thankfully, I figured it out using resources at Daniels, and I now have a half-dozen competing internship offers from every company I applied to. I’d like to share with you what I learned so you can get an even better start than I did.
This list will answer each of the questions outlined above and then some!
(1) The best time to start networking is the second you step in the door and begin your university experience; the second-best time is right now.
(2) Start networking with your professors. Initially, I had this idea in my head that only professors in my major could really help me but I was so wrong! Professors offer many benefits:
They’ve been around campus and the school. Professors may know of certain opportunities that are less advertised. Or, if you are busy, they know which are the best!
Lots of professors also have experience in various industries and can be pivotal in helping guide you
If you’re skeptical of overeager recruiters at career fairs trying to sell you on their company, professors are a breath of fresh air as they don’t have any interests other than you
They’re there to help you! I haven’t met a single professor at Daniels who doesn’t want to engage with their students
Without my connection with Professor Eschenlohr in my accounting 2200 course, I would certainly be nowhere close to where I am today.
(3) Next, engage with the upperclassmen around you. Being on the same page as them immediately puts you ahead of your class peers!
(4) Finally, the obvious—recruiters. Companies hire recruiters exclusively to convince people to join their company. My friend, Ben Osofsky of Beta Alpha Psi, put it this way: “Recruiters are paid to be nice to you!” So, don’t be afraid to be friendly with them.
(5) Daniels has many events (view the calendar). Certainly, go to bigger events (I enjoyed Meet the Firms hosted by Beta Alpha Psi).
(6) However, don’t overlook “small” events! I’ve had my best experiences with recruiters and employees at these events when nobody is overwhelmed by swarms of people. It is at these events that I really grow my network rather than hear and give 30-second elevator pitches.
(7) While an elevator pitch is nice, if both you and the recruiter have time, go deeper. I say you’re most confident when talking about things you know, such as yourself! Although, be sure you ask questions so you’re having a conversation.
Other Overall Tips
(8) Make business cards. I stole this idea from Professor Duncan but he’s right! Business cards and even a website really impress everyone I’ve met. Plus, they’re cheap and easy to make at Staples or FedEx Office.
(9) Have more than enough resumes
(10) Make quick notes on others’ cards. Jot down a topic of conversation or a detail on the person. Saving these details helps you and the professional remember each other when you communicate weeks later.
If you would like more advice, or to follow up, the author of this blog can be reached via his LinkedIn profile.