Tips for Students: Show Your Appreciation When Networking
When students are searching for a job, they need to know that gratitude matters. In order to differentiate themselves from the thousands of other candidates, students need to know how to network and build positive business relationships; this starts by demonstrating basic courtesy, but there are plenty of other things they can do to demonstrate appreciation and make a positive impression on the people who could help them launch their career.
The Basics Matter
If a student wants to make a good impression and start building positive relationships, he or she needs to attend to the basics during interviews, discussions and networking events.
Students should always be on time, if not a few minutes early. Punctuality demonstrates respect for business professionals’ time, understanding that these people have busy schedules, and seriousness about the job or career.
Students should focus 100% on the professional during their time together. Turning off cell phones, making eye contact while the business professional is speaking, and actively listening to what the professional has to say all demonstrate that the student thinks the professional’s time and expertise are valuable.
Students should always follow up with a handwritten thank you note. Handwritten notes have gone somewhat out of style in the technology age, but students can stand out by taking the time to write a thank you to every contact they meet rather than sending an email or private message on social media.
Make Sure to Follow Up
Students shouldn’t stop at the basics! They need to demonstrate continued interest by following up with the people they talk to.
Forward an article of interest. Students should actively research topics that are of interest to the company or professionals they are interested in. After the first meeting, they should get into the habit of occasionally forwarding an article related to those topics with a short note.
Connect on LinkedIn. If not already connected, students should ask whether they can keep up with the professional on LinkedIn. If they get permission, they should send a connection request a day or two after the initial meeting. It’s important to wait at least 24 hours so that they don’t seem overly eager or as though they don’t do other things besides post on LinkedIn. However, they shouldn’t wait too long or the professional might not remember them.
Networking is about more than common courtesy, but courtesy certainly helps. Students who get in the habit of showing their appreciation to business professionals will make a positive impression, making it much more likely that these connections will help them land a job.