3 Rules for Networking Like a Pro

Finding a job is never a solo effort. In fact, researchers estimate that 70-80% of jobs are found through networking. So how can you use your personal network to launch your career? Read on to find out how the FindSpark community equipped its members with three strategies for networking.

On Wednesday, September 24th, the Wix Lounge buzzed with energy. Dozens of conversations filled the space and business cards exchanged hands…and the event hadn’t even officially started yet! This was Creative Connections: A Night of Speed Networking.

FindSpark networking

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Banares

Emily Miethner, Founder + CEO of FindSpark, opened the evening with advice. She explained that a career doesn’t always have “one path to get from A to Z.” The job search journey might zig-zag all over the industry you’re interested in, so it’s important to stay open to any opportunity. And the best way to seek out these opportunities is by building your personal network. Understanding these rules of networking is crucial for any job or internship seeker:

1) Help connect other people.

Make introductions! When you’re meeting new people, it’s a sign of confidence to introduce them to another contact. You’re showing your own trust in them, and opening a door to a new networking relationship. And, connecting others inspires them to do the same, helping your own network to grow in the process.

2) Have an open mind.

You don’t need to be speaking with a CEO to get noticed at a company. Peers can be valuable networking resources too, with recent internship experience, connections from college, or even mutual friends. Meeting people currently in entry-level jobs often puts you on the radar for other open positions, with peers to vouch for your qualifications.

3) Don’t ask for a job – ask for stories.

Learn about the person you’re speaking with, rather than badgering them to help you find a job. Stories and sage advice are infinitely more valuable than a desperate plea for your dream job. Spend the conversation learning as much as possible, rather than trying to prove yourself right away.

FindSpark connections

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Banares

The Creative Connections networking event was speed-dating style, but these weren’t speed-dating questions. These were insightful, proactive conversations. Speakers reminisced about their own first job after college, connected job-seekers with colleagues, or suggested industry resources. Attendees volunteered business cards or talked about their future career goals. Each round of four minutes flew by – conversations became so animated that we had to raise the volume of the buzzer signaling it was time to rotate speakers!

If you missed this event, your chances for networking are far from over. Join the FindSpark community and have a chance to attend future speaker series or networking events. It’s never too late to build your network!  Any strategies of your own for finding and following up with the people you meet? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author

Julia is a graduate of the University of Virginia. Find her on LinkedIn or on a coffee-fueled adventure.

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