October 19, 2018

Networking Game Plan

Midterms are over and there is a brief calm before the storm of finals. Now is the time to make your networking game plan if you haven’t already! Break it down into four steps: Your Pitch, Who & Where to Network, Follow-up Schedule, and Maintaining Connections.

1. Your Pitch
You need to determine what you want to relay to contacts, potential professional connections and people you meet at networking events. Asking yourself a few questions may assist in organizing your thoughts. Ask yourself “Who is my target audience? Who is my competition? How am I different? What value or benefit do I bring? What proof do I have to support what I offer?”  For instance, if you know you want to work in healthcare, then your target audience would be hospital administrators, healthcare related networking events and healthcare companies. Once you determine those answers then you can start forming a clear pitch. This means brainstorming past accomplishments and linking them to your future goals.
2. Who and Where to Network
Everyone and anyone is a good start. But, if you have a clear idea of your future career aspiration, then start finding events that align with your career goals. For instance, attend club events on campus, virtual and in-person information sessions (found in CareerLink) look up organizations in your industry and see if they are hosting any networking events in Cleveland or in cities nearby. Talk to your professors, parents, family and friends and see if there are any networking events they like to attend – then join them!

3. Follow-up Schedule
Once you exchange business cards and meet a few people at various events, then be sure to follow-up the next day with an email or LinkedIn invite. Remember to note where you met them, mention something unique about the conversation, and thank them for their time. This follow-up is critical for them to remember you in the future.

4. Maintain Connections
Sending one email is not enough to keep a connection strong. You must build a good rapport with them by emailing them something meaningful on occasion. For example, if you see their company mentioned in the news for an award or a good development, then drop a note stating, “Congratulations, I just saw company ‘A’ in Crain’s Business.” Or, if you come upon an interesting article that relates to a project that they are working on then send them a quick note stating, “Thought you would find this interesting.”

We hope these steps help in your networking journey! Ready to get started? Be sure to check out the Healthcare & Innovation Panel hosted by Healthcare Business Club and the Design Club on Friday, October 26, 4 – 7 p.m. – a great networking opportunity on campus!

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