Quick Networking Tips

Posted: April 4, 2012 in sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

From meeting Marcia Debnam for the first time it’s obvious to see that she is a people person. It’s evident that she loves what she does and there’s no questioning that. She has been working at Indiana University for 23 years. Currently she is the Career Services Director at the IU School of Journalism. She also teaches a couple classes and holds journalism workshops. She’s a University of Georgia graduate and also received her Master’s Degree from Indiana University in 1981.

On Thursday March 29th, Marcia spoke to my sports journalism class about networking. She gave us tips on how to “take advantage of people in a professional way”.  She explained how to properly approach people, how to thank people, and other things as simple as finding out what common interest you have with the people you’re trying to network with.

When networking remember it’s key not to make everything about yourself. What can you bring to the table? Are you a hard worker? Are you willing to go above and beyond the task given to you?

These are all questions that you need to address with yourself before even attempting to woo someone into hiring you.  Stay humble and let your prospective employer know that you appreciate them even giving you an opportunity to show if you’re built for the position or not.

Marcia also touched on branding yourself. Some people call it an old fashioned concept but that’s just not true. Building a positive brand will and will always work in your favor. Being friendly is an easy thing to do. Even if you’re not friendly it’s easy to fake it. No one likes to be around a grump all day. No one wants to hire someone that they feel will be a grump. This isn’t just a short term deal (unless you mess up and get fired or end up quitting). You’re (hopefully) going to be with these people for a long time.

When branding and networking, do not shoot yourself in the foot. What she meant by this is have some credibility. If you know you don’t have the skills to perform a task don’t say that you do. Or at least let them know that you would be willing to try even with little experience. Be honest with people because in the long run you’ll be happy you were.

With the networking aspect you don’t want to lie, or “stretch the truth”. Let’s say I’m your boss and I have a friend that needs help with a serious issue that requires a professional to come in and fix it. If I recommend you to them and you get over there and flop sporadically and leave a bad impression then that looks bad on me. I lose credibility and you do as well.

Acknowledge that networking is a process. You’re building a relationship with someone; don’t treat it as a drive-through. If you try to speed things up and get right to the point then you’re not being sincere.

The people that you’re networking with want to see sincerity and want to feel like you’re actually interested in them. They know you want the job already; you wouldn’t be there if you didn’t. Being a user isn’t good, be honest and let people know what your intentions are. Building a good relationship with employers can give you benefits that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t.

Lastly there’s one thing that can put you over with anyone that you’re trying to network with (employers as well). This next tip could possibly be the one thing standing in your way of getting the job you want or meeting people that will take you to your next level of sucess. That one, all important thing is your attitude. The impression you leave will be the first thing that people remember.

Having a bad attitude obviously won’t get you what you want. Having one leaves room for employers to hesitate when thinking about hiring you and you hit a road block when trying to network.

They’ll remember you as the downer or the complainer and look to other people to get what they need. You may be as qualified as other people but if you have an attitude problem you’re only hurting yourself. The networking process isn’t hard. It’s only as hard as you make it.

  1. I’m having my younger cousin read this article as I think it will help him.
    Great pointers!

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