Why You Need to Grow and Maintain Your Network and How to Do It

Who’s a BU grad, loves acapella, had ten internships in college and is a networking wiz? That would be Tina Yip, Jr. Social Media Strategist at mcgarrybowen, of course.  Tina demystified networking for the crowd last Thursday at NY Creative Interns’ Summer Series Mixer at Wix Lounge.  Read on for her tips on growing and maintaining your network.

Tina Yipp

Photo By Erica Genece

Follow up.

It’s crucial that you follow up with new people you meet within 24 hours of the event.  In your email, mention what you talked about to jog their memory and distinguish yourself from the other people your new contact may have met.

Touch base.

Try to touch base with your contact every few months.  Sure, easier said than done, but if you need something to talk about, you could try reaching out when:

  1.  there’s an update in your life you’re excited to share
  2. you notice an update in their life (a job change, a recent publication, etc.)
  3. send them an article that pertains to them

“The Twittah–Be On It!” [In Tina’s own words]

Twitter and other microblogging sites are useful networking tools.  Here are some ways to use microblogging to stay connected or grow a community:

  1. Use it to show you have an opinion.  Recruiters (and others) will see you as knowledgeable.
  2. Use Tweetchats.  In a Tweetchat, a host will push out questions, and anyone following can answer them.  Being a part of a Tweetchat is a good way to show what you know and network with a likewise-interested group.
  3. Use Twitter to engage with new and old contacts.  Twitter is about responding and engaging with the community you’ve built of followers and people you follow.  You can group influencers in various lists to keep track of everyone.  And as for old contacts and friends, Twitter is an easy, casual way to catch up with people.  A quick Tweet reminds them that you’re around–and who knows, maybe that quick note could remind them that you would be the perfect match for a recent job opening at their company.
  4. Bring your online contacts offline.  Once you’ve established a rapport with someone, you can ask them if they’d like to take the conversation offline and speak in person.
  5. Use Twitter/social media to show that you have an active interest in the industry in which you want to work.

Wix Mixer Audience

Photo By Erica Genece

Have a side hustle.

Aside from your day job–or the day job you’re networking to find–have a side hustle: a completely unrelated activity that you do basically for your own enjoyment.  Side hustles are the new resume-builders and show the world that you have a passion.  This could be anything from blogging, to starting your own small business, to helping out at a startup, to volunteering.

Have a productive spring break.

For those of you who are still in school, think of spring break as uninterrupted networking time.  Two month prior to one of Tina’s spring breaks, she compiled a list of companies that looked interesting to her, then found contacts at those companies on LinkedIn.  She then lined up informational interviews with those contacts within a few days when she planned to be in New York–and  still had left time in the week to have some fun, too.  Speaking of LinkedIn, don’t forget the value of the 2nd Degree Connection: you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to friends and ask them to facilitate introductions.  Take advantage of the advanced search feature on LinkedIn as well.  You can use it to search for contacts in a specific position, like people who hold jobs you are interested in as well.

Don’t be pushy, be persistent. 

So you emailed someone…and they haven’t yet written back.  Now what?  Tina recommends following up with another message two weeks after the initial email.  Working professionals are busy and sometimes miss emails, so follow up can be really helpful–just don’t overdo it.  Remember there are other channels  besides email like Twitter and LinkedIn that you can use to stay on someone’s radar.

Like what you read?  You can view the slides from Tina’s presentation here, and can contact her at @tina_yip.  Feel free to share your networking success stories in the comments.

Thanks to our event sponsor Wix.com.

Wix.com enables everyone to design, publish and host stunning HTML5 websites. No coding, no previous design skills, just log in to Wix and start creating with our easy drag-and-drop website builder! In that spirit of encouraging creativity and enabling entrepreneurship, in 2010 Wix founded the NYC Wix Lounge. The Wix Lounge is a completely free co-working, event and exhibit space for creative professionals. Grab your laptop, pop into the Lounge and enjoy a productive work day, great networking opportunities, and amazing events. The Wix Lounge provides free support to New Yorkers, giving them the tools and tips for successfully launching and managing their businesses’ online presence. To learn more about the Wix Lounge, please visit www.wixlounge.com.

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