The 5 Best Networking Tips For Recent Graduates

Networking is often contrived and transactional, making it awkward for people who want to make professional connections. New graduates, especially those who are anxious to find a job, desperately need and want help, but don’t want people to feel like they merely want something from them. But networking doesn’t have to be as difficult or as daunting as it is said to be, here are five tips to help introduce you to networking:

Leverage Your Age 

Right after high school or college graduation, established professionals are especially eager to help graduates find their way and land a job. This is a moment in time professionals collectively acknowledge young people need guidance. People are less understanding later on in your career. So leverage this moment in time and reach out to people, approach them at events, cold email them and ask if you may buy them a cup of coffee for 15 minutes of their time. Use that time wisely: do your research, ask lots of questions, take notes, learn as much as you can. It is a compliment to ask someone for advice, and people know graduates need it, so do not waste this moment.

Networking Can Just Be Making Friends  

For those who have landed a job in their chosen profession but want to make connections, a natural way to network is simply to make friends with your co-workers, and employees at other companies in your field at various events, etc. If your foot is in the door, you can focus more on forming a bond, and building a sense on camaraderie with them. These relationships can ultimately be more valuable than the relationships you build up the ladder. Your peers can be the first ones to think of you when there’s a job opening, the ones to help you or give you ideas if you encounter some professional dilemma and you have no idea what to do, and your soundingboard when work is difficult. Ignore your peers at your peril; your relationship with them is just as important as your relationship with your boss.

Be Intentional With Your Events 

It’s easy to sign up for networking events for the sake of signing up for networking events. Don’t wander aimlessly through the networking wilderness- it is a dark, confusing place that makes networking even more difficult than it already is. Do not sign up for networking events willy nilly, only attend events that companies you want to be hired by are attending, and professionals you deeply admire. Focus more of your time on what connections you can build through your existing relationships (friends of friends, friends of your parents, friends of your family, your friends’ parents, etc), and cold emailing professionals you admire and want to chat with.

Introduce Yourself At The End Of Events  

According to Nobel-prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, the “peak-end” rule is when one’s impression of an event is how he or she felt when things were most intense, and at the end of the event. How you feel during those periods is how you will feel about the event overall. Psychologists claim this is a bias in judgement, but for our purposes, what we can take away from it is that it is smart to wait until the end of the event to introduce yourself to someone important. If you make a good impression at the end of the event, they are more likely to remember you. So don’t leave the event early if there is someone in particular you wish to speak to; stay until the end and seize your moment.

It’s All For Nothing If You Don’t Follow-Up   

Making friends, attending networking events, sending cold emails, buying coffees, etc. is only the beginning. If you make a good connection, you only keep it if you follow-up and stay in touch. This is perhaps the most difficult part of networking- maintenance. It’s difficult to make connections, but it is very easy to lose them. Life becomes busy, and then all of a sudden it’s been more than a year since you’ve shot a key connection a note. It’s a very, very bad look to only give someone a ring when you need them. People will know, and won’t help. So make it part of your routine to keep up with people. Remember birthdays, if people celebrate milestones such as a new job, a prestigious appointment, a wedding or the birth of a child or grandchild, shoot them a note, and a gift if you are close enough. If you read an article you think might interest them, send it over. Use those 15-minute moments in your day to connect with people you worked hard to meet; it will pay major dividends throughout your life and career.

Frances Bridges


By Mauvette Malizia
Mauvette Malizia Career Services Advisor