With the latest developments in technology and social media, the way we network has drastically shifted over the last 30 years. There are countless opportunities for us to meet people in our professional fields and connect with them on a more personal level both in-person and online. While being able to network is a vital skill, approaching and engaging someone you may not know takes practice and lot of confidence. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of networking and connecting with others.
Graduating from college is an exciting milestone that signifies the end of one journey, and the start of another. With graduation steadily approaching, it’s natural to feel a little lost, and even scared, of what’s yet to come. The best part is, you don’t have to have everything figured out. Your story is just beginning, and it’s time for you to learn as much as possible in the next few years.
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Life is all about experiencing new opportunities and embarking on adventures. It’s also about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Use this time and energy to explore new hobbies and interests. If your job takes you to a new place or unfamiliar city, do as much exploring as possible. The most successful people aren’t always those with the best grades or best internships, but sometimes the people who are able to adapt to new circumstances and environments.
Keep Your LinkedIn Updated
LinkedIn is an awesome tool to leverage when staying connected to classmates, former supervisors, professors and more. You can also use it to browse job openings, stay up to date on current events and trends in your industry, and share your professional accomplishments. Be sure to support your classmates and friends on LinkedIn as well and take a genuine interest in articles and updates they post as they are likely to return the favor. Make sure you update your LinkedIn frequently with new skills, certifications and awards to reflect your professional experiences. Ask a mentor or former supervisor to write a recommendation on your profile. This shows you have made a good impression on former employers and would be an asset to a new company.
Ask Lots of Questions
You don’t have all the answers, and you’re not expected to either. Asking questions is essential to growth. It’s also acceptable to make a few mistakes along the way. According to Inc.com, many college graduates set unrealistic expectations for themselves early on in their careers that are nearly impossible to live up to in terms of job satisfaction and lifestyle. It takes time to build your career, and it’s important to remember that your first job (and even your second, third or fourth) is rarely your dream job. Use this period of growth to ask as many questions as you can and learn new things. Your future self will thank you.
Cherish The Little Things
Life isn’t always perfect, but there is something good in every day. Don’t let a bad day or even a bad week stop you from enjoying this time in your life. Go out for dinner with a friend, or attend a fitness class to get your mind off work and unwind from the week. Make sure to spend at least an hour each day that honors you, and be sure to practice self care. Try writing in a journal each night before bed to reflect on your day and keep track of your progress. For a smooth, weighted writing performance, use a Sarasa Grand gel pen. The Sarasa Grand is the perfect pen to bring to a big meeting, and makes a striking first impression. For other professional, durable and stylish pens, turn to the STEEL line.
Honor Your Own Journey
Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” In the age of social media, it’s easy to compare your journey to that of your friends and classmates. Remember, what you see on social media is a highlight reel. Everyone follows their own path in life, and everyone is fighting an internal battle you know nothing about. The path to success is rarely linear, and you have your entire life ahead of you. Be kind to those around you and know that you are doing just fine.
Make New Connections
While it’s important to stay in touch with classmates, professors and past mentors, it’s also important to use this time to expand your network. Get to know your new coworkers and supervisors and take the time to grab lunch with them when possible. Ask others about their experience and use their advice to better your own career.
Do What Makes You Happy
At the end of the day, life is too short to be anything but happy. Friends, family and the relationship you have with yourself are the most important things in life. Pursue the things that make you excited to come to work in the morning, and never stop exploring your passions. You can’t find true happiness from a paycheck.