The June 12th Skillshare class Hustle 101: Networking for Recent College Grads was a fun way to learn how to take advantage of opportunities around us by attending interesting events and connecting with awesome new people after graduation.
Emily began the class by sharing her post-graduate story with us. After four years of good grades, active campus life and several internships, Emily was still left without a job post graduation. In her limbo period between graduation and finding a job, she commuted from Long Island, took two unpaid internships and spent the rest of her time networking with as many people as possible. In this process she met several individuals who became her mentors. Through these relationships she learned about new events, continued to build connections, and was supported by people who would help her accomplish her goal of building the community that became NY Creative interns! Emily would never have been able to meet and connect with these people if it wasn’t for her intense hustling skills. But what is hustle? Here are some key take-aways I had from our class on Tuesday.
The Art of Hustle:
Meeting People: One theme throughout the night was that online is way less important than real life. It is really valuable to meet as many interesting and exciting individuals as possible. You never know when a person might be in contact with your idol, or have connections with the HR manager at your dream job. The person you meet might not be in your field of interest, but that still doesn’t mean you can’t build a connection with a really awesome individual. Tips: Check out sites like Meetup.com or Skillshare to look for different classes and groups you’re interested in joining. Do small pro-bono work assignments through sites like Catchafire. Sign up for newsletters in your field of interest. See the slideshare below for more newsletters and communities you can check out!
Have Specific Goals and Share Them: This can be hard to do right out of college, but it is important to have some specific goals for yourself about what you would like to achieve in the near future and long term. Once you know your goals, never be afraid to share them with the people you meet. People enjoy helping others and they may know ways to help you achieve these goals. Be prepared to feel vulnerable throughout this process- it can actually be a lot harder than it seems to truly share your hopes and goals with others! But never let this stop you from from building connections and getting word out about your passions.
Realize What You Have To Offer: We all have skill sets and experience in many different fields, sometimes we just don’t realize it. Take some time to figure out what it is you have to offer, whether you are applying to a job, or sending an email to connect with someone. Never reach out without understanding what you can offer them first.
Do Your Research: It may be hard to find a position in this economy, but one advantage we have over previous generations is all the awesome technology at our fingertips. Thanks to the internet you can often find a lot of information on a company, organization or individual before you even meet them. Scour company websites, read personal blogs, and follow anything that interests you on twitter and other social media outlets.
Look Good Online: Most employers these days will do a quick internet search on you before they meet you. One easy way to stand out is making sure you have an awesome online presence. Create a landing page for yourself for others to find. About.me is a great website for this. It is also good to dabble a bit in social media to present an online voice. You don’t have to go social media crazy however, chose one or two sites that you really enjoy and plan to update often. Twitter in particular can be a very helpful resource to discover new people and learn about upcoming events or job openings. Creating a Linkedin account is also a necessity when beginning the job search.
A Good Email Goes a Long Way: A well written email can have a large impact. For new connections be concise and clearly state who you are, why you are reaching out and what you can offer them. When you are reaching out to someone you’ve met once or twice before, do not assume they remember you. Always provide an introduction, and once again make sure to specifically state why you are contacting them. Do you struggle to keep emails short? Emily suggested to first imagine you are writing a tweet, and see what you can fit in 140 characters or less. You may be surprised by how much you can say in so few words. Tip: Not sure of someone’s email address? Use the Gmail add on rapportive. It allows you to see any social media accounts attributed to the email address!
Follow Up: Sometimes, especially when you reach out to someone who is very busy, they may not reply after your first attempt to connect. Don’t become discouraged! Follow up is just as important as the first email to connect. There are various ways you can try to follow up again with someone after you first contacted them, depending on how busy they are or how well you know them. (Obviously you must be the judge of this.) One solution is to reply to the original email, politely stating that you were following up and hope to receive a response. You can also tweet at an active twitter user a few days after the first email. Or you can also use the internet to your advantage again to see if the person will be in your area soon or attending any upcoming events. Approaching them politely in person will be the best way to start a conversation (literally) with them!
Many people say “It’s all about who you know” when talking about achieving your goals or obtaining a job. This might be true, but remember, this is a good thing and gives you the opportunity and the excuse to go out there and get to know more awesome and exciting people!
Be sure to check out the slideshare presentation below from the event, it includes lots of tips and tricks not mentioned in this post.