The Networking Process

In any job market, building personal relationships and working with your contacts is the most effective way to land a job or internship. Although networking seems to come naturally to some, many job seekers are intimidated by the process. But in today’s highly competitive world, being a confident and effective networker is what sets you apart from the crowd.

From learning how to introduce yourself, entering a crowded room or asking someone for an informational interview, practicing networking skills can make a big difference in building an effective personal and professional network.

Your 30-second Self-introduction

Creating a 30-second self-introduction or “elevator pitch” is a good place to start. It is your quick, personal selling statement. It can be used when riding in an elevator with the person standing next to you, and it can also serve as the foundation for cover letters, email introductions, and meeting employers at career fairs.

Your pitch should make a good first impression and include:

  • Name
  • Education (school and major)
  • Experience
  • Interests, talents, skills
  • Aspirations

An example of an effective self-introduction:

“Hi, my name is Susan Smith, and I am currently a junior at Olin Business School studying marketing and strategy. I have created successful marketing campaigns through my experience with General Mills promotions and look forward to continuing my studies and gaining experience in the consumer packaged goods field.”

Keep in mind also that your self-introduction will change along the way, depending on the situation and who you are talking to. Always think about your introduction and adjust it accordingly at career fairs, networking events, social activities etc.

Become an Effective Networker

  • Be friendly, personable, courteous, flexible and open.
  • Have good self-esteem; you’re as good as everyone else in the room.
  • Be brave; you need to be when you walk into a room full of strangers.
  • Be generous; networking is about giving first and receiving second.
  • Be persistent and resilient. Why bother networking if you don’t follow up?
  • Ask the right questions in an open and interesting manner.
  • Listen actively.
Reprinted with permission “I Hate Networking” by Will Kintish, author, professional speaker and trainer

Informational Interviews

If you already made a tentative career choice, informational interviews can help you learn how to get a job in that field and find out about the responsibilities, rewards, problems and issues inherent in a specific career. Informational interviews are a great way to start a network.

Good networking is a win-win situation for both you and your prospective employers. Learn more about successful networking and building your personal brand in the Career Guide.

To meet with a career coach, schedule an appointment online, email wcc@olin.wustl.edu, call 314-935-5950, or stop by the WCC in Knight Hall 210.