4 Networking Strategies for Introverts

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Introverts are individuals who greatly value time by themselves so that their energy is restored – especially after an entire day of being around others. In general, they think before they speak, need time to process information they have heard, select friends carefully, enjoy privacy, are very observant of people and circumstances, and enjoy one-on-one conversations rather than large crowds. For many introverts, networking can appear to be intimidating at first glance, however, with strategy and a solid game plan, introverts can be just as successful as extroverts in their ability to network with professionals.

Strategy #1 – Think, Write, Practice!

In order to prepare to speak to professionals in career fields that interest you, you do not always have to do this spontaneously without preparation. Instead, take time to write out your personal “pitch” that will tell someone about yourself in a short amount of time, while highlighting the most relevant information about yourself. For instance:

“Hi, I’m _____, a senior majoring in Communication and am seeking a full-time position in the field of public relations. For the past few years, I have worked at UGA’s student news­paper, the Red & Black, where I worked in several capacities including editing, photography and advertising sales. Through this experience and other leadership roles, I have gained a good understanding of what it takes to be successful in PR.I feel using social media effectively as a business is crucial and would be interested in learning more about your social media coordinator role. Taken from the UGA Career Guide

After writing out your pitch, practice, practice, practice. First, you could begin by practicing alone, looking in a mirror to observe your natural mannerisms. Secondly, you could practice with a friend or family member to gain their perspective and any advice they may have for improvement. Thirdly, you can practice your pitch with a Career Consultant at the UGA Career Center – to make an appointment, call 706.542.3375. Finally, practice your pitch with a professional in a career field of interest – informational interview, career fair, etc.

Strategy #2 – Be Observant: Who Is Already In Your Network?

Who in your immediate circle of friends and family knows someone in the career that interests you? While extroverts may be energized by forming new relationships with strangers, introverts enjoy meeting people who are already connected with them in some way. As you begin your career exploration, ask family and friends about who they know in that career field. Keep a list of names, emails, and phone numbers so that you can reach out to these professionals when you feel best prepared.

Strategy #3 – Be Focused & Intentional

When in large networking settings, introverts CAN be successful by focusing and being intentional about building relationships with professionals in a one-on-one way. Here are a few tips when attending large events:

  • Know before you go which professionals/organizations are coming to the event
  • Map out who you would like to talk with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
  • Approach professionals with confidence and use your pitch in your introduction
  • This is not about performing, it is about enjoying a mutual conversation: The professional wants to get to know you, and you want to get to know the professional and their organization
  • Focus on the professional and try not to be distracted by others around you – solid eye contact and listening skills are key
  • Enjoy the large group setting for a while, and then find time to be alone to recharge your energy

Strategy #4 – Practice, Practice, Practice!

While you continue growing in your verbal networking ability, utilize your written strengths to get in touch with professionals through LinkedIn or email. Networking verbally may be challenging for many introverts at first, but with intentional practice of how to build one-on-one relationships, it will get easier with time. So don’t sweat it! Take some time to begin implementing this game plan to help you feel less intimidated. For additional assistance or practice, be sure to schedule an appointment to meet with your UGA Career Consultant by calling 706.542.3375. Remember, you too can be a successful networker!

- Posted by Suzanne Voigt, Career Consultant

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3 Ways to Make New Connections When You Relocate

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What is the one thing that is scarier than leaving college to start your first job? How about leaving college, starting your first job, AND moving to a new city!

Yet every year, thousands of college grads do just that. Data collected by the Career Center’s Post-Graduate Survey suggests that nearly 40% of UGA’s Class of 2013 relocated outside of Georgia for their first job. The destinations ranged widely, including relatively nearby cities like Nashville or Birmingham, as well as more far-away destinations like New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. Some graduates even landed jobs in other nations around the world.

Sometimes finding yourself in an unfamiliar place can be stressful and lonely, especially after the close-knit community lifestyle of college. How can you jumpstart your network and begin making new connections?

Here are a few great ways to get started:

Say “Yes” to New Opportunities

One of the first things that you can do when relocating to a new place is to adopt a “Yes” mentality. When you are presented with an opportunity that may lead to new connections – just say yes!

As an introvert, this concept helped me tremendously when I made my first career move to Athens. I’ve never been very good at small talk and I don’t usually like social gatherings where I don’t know anyone. The “Yes” mindset was crucial to helping me counter these weaknesses. Although there were definitely times when I wanted to decline invitations to community events, dinner parties, or happy hours, I gave myself a little extra push that was necessary to overcome my fears. Now those one-time strangers are some of my best friends – all because I opened myself up to new opportunities!

Tap Into Technology

In the world we live in today, there are few aspects of life that are not affected by technology – and networking is no different. Think about all of the different social platforms that you could potentially use to learn about community events and connect with your tribe. Here are some examples:

  • Facebook: Do some basic research to see if your neighborhood has any type of “Young Professionals” group, or other groups/clubs based on your interests. If you play around with the search parameters, you are likely to find at least 1 or 2. You might also “Like” or “Follow” local businesses that you connect with – they may advertise events that would be a great meeting place for others with similar tastes and interests!
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn has a very easy to use alumni tool that you can use to identify any alumni connections in your community. Take a look and see what you find. Set a goal for yourself to reach out to at least 10 new people every month, and also use LinkedIn to help keep track of new connections (this can be less awkward than Facebook if you’ve just met). You should also do a search for any related professional groups – the UGA Alumni Association, for example, has a chapter (and a corresponding LinkedIn page) for many cities, including the ones listed above!
  • MeetUp.com: This is another great platform for bringing together folks with similar interests, whether that is something broad (like “Young Professionals of Nashville”) or something incredibly specific (like “Russian History Book Club of New York”).

Volunteer or Get Involved

Lastly, consider any steps you can take to get more involved in the community and tap into the many networks that already exist. Examples include community service events (I’ve volunteered at the Classic City Brew Fest the past three years!) as well as organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce or the Rotary Club. A simple Google search will reveal a number of options – and you can also check out local classifieds or community bulletin boards to find more.

At the end of the day, the bottom line is that you just have to put yourself out there. Moving to a new place can be lonely and frightening, but you won’t ever be able to overcome those feelings if you spend all of your time on your sofa in front of the TV. So go on, put yourself out there….your new friends are waiting to meet you!

-Posted by Andrew Crain, UGA Career Consultant

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5 “Easy” Ways to Succeed in Your First Job Out of College

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Hands were shaken, diploma was received, tassel was moved, pictures were taken, cap was tossed and cake was eaten. The day you worked four (or five, or six) years for was over in lightning speed and now it seems like forever ago — am I right?   Whether you transitioned into your new job the Monday after graduation, will begin your new position soon, or are still seeking employment, you have (or will have) a first job post-graduation. So, here are five “easy” ways to succeed in your first job out of college.

  1. Introduce Yourself

It’s relatively easy to get to know people in college with all the structured orientations and ice breakers, but in your first job, activities like this will most likely not be included on your first day. Be sure to be friendly. Introduce yourself. Smile. Keep in mind these people already saw something in you – that’s why you were hired! Carry that confidence with you as you begin meeting new co-workers and slowly building relationships. Schedule lunches with colleagues, grab coffee with your boss and reach out to others in your company who may be able to offer you advice on how to succeed in your new role. Don’t wait to build your network. Take advantage of every opportunity to do so within your new organization.

 

  1. Work Hard

After choosing your own schedule for the past several years, know that you typically do not have this luxury in “the real world”. So, set those multiple iPhone alarms now! Arriving early is an excellent way to stand out and succeed in your new role. Beyond being punctual, be sure to volunteer for anything you can within your new company or organization. Let others know you are willing to go above and beyond and be a true team player.

 

  1. Maintain a Good Work-Life Balance

…something you probably haven’t thought much about yet. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of working late, not getting enough sleep and eating poorly during that first job post-college, so take care of yourself! Plan time for fun, don’t deprive yourself of sleep (even though you did countless times in college) and take this time in your life to begin learning how to cook healthy meals – you’ll definitely thank yourself later! A little Food Network never hurt anyone (and cooking your own meals can help save some major $!)

 

  1. Be Professional

Don’t let your unprofessionalism cost you your first job. From communication, to attitude, to dress, be sure to project an overall sense of professionalism on the job. Being professional means avoiding office drama or gossip, leaving text message lingo out of office emails or written correspondence, and dressing in a way that meets the company dress code. Round up those coupons you keep receiving in your inbox and invest in some quality, professional clothing. Need some inspiration on what to buy or what to wear? Check out the UGA Career Center’s Business Attire Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/ugacareercenter/business-attire/

 

  1. Find a Way to Stand Out

Ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for?” Do you have a niche? Are you someone everyone knows they can come to for encouragement? Have you noticed something within the company or organization that could be improved by a new initiative? Don’t be afraid to stand out and let your ideas and talents be known!

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