Building and maintaining your network is a key asset in building relationships and finding appealing careers. An easy way to start is to start with your family and friends. Make a list of parents, teachers, coaches, parents etc. Reach out to as many as you can and develop a list with their names, contact information, the company they work for and their position. If you do not currently have a strong relationship or rapport with them I would encourage you to start. It can be as simple as sending emails or making phone calls every now and then. Once you connect with some more closely It would encourage a meeting over coffee or something easy for them to fit in their schedule. This can give you 30 minutes to pick their brain and help give you a better understanding of what they do. Once you have this list you can get more expansive in responding to business cards you receive at career fairs or job expos, maybe professors at your school, and lastly your schools alumni. Alumni is a great way to get in touch with businesses you have interest. Once you see there is an individual who graduated from your school you can reach out with calls and a meeting.
A third element to access is the social networking site called linkedin.com. LinkedIn is essentially Facebook for business professionals. It allows you to manage your profile, resume, job search, connections and businesses you have interest in. The site allows you to search any company you desire and can show you which of your contacts work for those companies. A final strength is that it allows you to see which of your connections are connected with those you wish to connect with. This can be advantageous because you know who to get in touch with and now you have a means of doing so.
The SAS event is good way to practice your networking skills, with such a large company base that is affiliated with the event, it would be a shame not to take full advantage. Make authentic relationships with those you meet, ask for everyones business card, follow up with everyones card you get with a simple email. Again, for those you feel a stronger connection with consider meeting in person. The most important thing after you execute these preliminary processes is to continue the relationship and stay in touch with them. No matter where you re in your career, you never know when you may need to call on a relationship, it could mean the difference in getting the next dream job.
Written By: Matt Abrahamson – Brand Ambassador