Although crucial, making professional connections may seem like a daunting task to a young woman. Most college-aged people lack experience in the professional world, and don’t even know where to start. Here are some tips on how to network.
Start With the People You Already Know
Asking the right questions to the people around you can benefit you greatly. Maybe your third cousin’s coworker knows the head of a company you’re interested in working for. Maybe your best friend has a great aunt that knows a prominent professional in the field of your interest. You never know who your friends and family know.
Use Your School’s Resources
If you're in college, there are a wealth of people on your campus or even in your classes that can help you. Make friends and connect with your classmates. Even if they end up not being interested in your field, you never know when they may contact you later. And you never know who they know. Joining clubs related to your career aspirations will almost guarantee your exposure to people who want to be in the same field as you. Additionally, speaking to your professors or campus resources such as the career or professional development center at your university can be crucial.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Growing up in the age of social media certainly shapes your experience. Although many of us complain of growing up with all of the pressure to be perfect that social media can bring with it, you can actually use your social media accounts to benefit you. DM the CEO of that company you dream of working for. Put your credentials in your bio, or even make a separate page for your business interests and follow as many people as you can in the field. Many people will follow you back because they are looking to make connections, too.
Use Other Online Resources
There are so many other online resources besides social media to network. Create a LinkedIn account and make connections with people in the field of your interest. Connect with as many people working for the company you’d like to work for as you can and even message them if you’d like. If you are looking for a job, apply to a bunch of them on Indeed. Even if you end up interviewing for some of them and not getting all of them, you are guaranteed to meet people in your field. Certain networking sites such as Ladies Get Paid and The Riveter are designed specifically to help women in the work force. Additionally, staying updated and reading articles online for job-specific platforms that may be designed specifically for your field, or even contacting bloggers that write about your interests can be helpful.
Make a Business Card or Carry Your Resume
If you are an aspiring freelance writer, computer technician, or any other self-employed start-up, making a business card could be helpful. You will look professional, and can provide anyone you encounter in your field with ways to contact you. If you do not want to make a business card, even just keeping spare copies of your resume with you can prove helpful. You never know who you are going to meet.