Thursday, February 6, 2014

Water Cooler Talk: Networking 101

The Sport Management Student Union’s networking event is a week from today.  There will be a panel discussing their careers, giving tips about networking, and answering any questions you may have.  I have decided to give you some of my networking tips that I have used over the years.  They have been very helpful for me in keeping up with professional relationships and I hope they will be helpful for you too.

My first tip is to find a way to keep track of all the people you want to keep in touch with.  I use to just keep mental notes of all the people I needed to keep in contact with and would reach out to them every so often.  This was obviously not a very good process.  Recently in one of my classes, Dr. Giddings gave us the idea to keep your connections in an excel spreadsheet.  This way you can have all the information you need in one place.  It is also a good way to keep track of when the last time you spoke to your connections.  Using this system is definitely the most efficient way I can think of to stay in touch with your connections. 

My second tip is to use being a student to your advantage.  Most students do not have that much experience in their field or even completely understand what they would be doing in a certain career.  As a student you should reach out to a professional in the field you want to get involved in.  Ask them if they had some time to discuss their career and some advice they might have for you.  Most professionals will be willing to help because they use to be in your shoes not that long ago.  By creating this connection you can later try to reach back out to them for an internship.  This way you will already have a relationship with them and you won’t just be reaching out in desperation for a possible internship.

My final tip is to try to volunteer for different opportunities.  Volunteering is a great way to meet people.  Big events are always looking for people that would like to help.  If you volunteer at these events, you will be in the same room as professionals that would be good to network with.  Even if you don’t get to speak with these people personally, you can still reach out to them after saying that you saw their presentation.  You can use my second tip of trying to find out about their careers and any advice they might have for you. 

In the end, it is all about meeting and connecting with the right people.  If you are able to stay in touch with these people and they like you, it could lead to possible employment in the future.  If you want to hear more networking tips make sure to attending our networking event next week!

Greg Monforte is a Drexel University Sport Management pre-junior from South Jersey.  Currently he works at Not Just Pizza in Sicklerville, NJ and Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia where he has social media and marketing responsibilities.  Greg is also the SMTSU Director of Marketing & Outreach.  Follow Greg on Twitter @Greg_Monforte.
Connect with Greg Monforte on LinkedIn.

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