Three Ways for College Students to Maintain a Strong Network
You’ve built a LinkedIn profile, created your first resume, and are connecting with people you meet. That means you are professionally developing! Networking is undoubtedly an important skill to have in today’s professional world, but how do you really make an impact and resonate with your network? It’s all in the authenticity you project plus the appreciation and kindness you show each individual in your network, and how those individuals see your appreciation, genuineness, and kindness to others in your network.
In recent years, social media has taken over a majority of the ways people interact. Between extended families remaining close, new friends starting to connect and get to know each other, even businesses using it as a marketing platform, social media is big and everyone knows it. Use it to show appreciation to others.
After attending a networking event or meeting a distinguished individual, post about it on social media to show thankfulness. This will not only give more attention to your profile, but also show appreciation and gratefulness to the event or individual. Tagging them will also nudge the individual to give your profile a look and hopefully remember the interaction, plus appreciate and reinforce the bond that was made.
Appreciation can also be shown by initiating a second interaction. A follow-up email or direct message displaying gratitude for the interaction can once again reinforce the bond that was created when you met. Showing appreciation is super important in strengthening your relationships with others as you grow your network!
Being genuine is an important follow up to the appreciation topic because appreciation that is overdone or overshown could be seen as inauthentic. Being genuine is keeping a consistent behavior and personality across all aspects of life. For example, if a person is enthusiastic and funny in a personal meeting, but blunt or inattentive over the phone, their behavior could be seen as inauthentic, and negatively impact their colleagues’ opinions of them. However, maintaining a consistent personality that is approachable and memorable both in person and otherwise can really make a person stand out.
Finally, practicing kindness is of utmost importance to strengthen relationships within your network. One way kindness can be shown is by publicly proclaiming how a specific event, organization, or individual has contributed something to your life. This promotes your personal brand as a kind, appreciative, and genuine person to people who hear or see this sign of kindness second-hand. Other ways to show kindness include acts of community service, and random acts of giving time, money, or work to an event, organization, or individual.
Getting your name out in the world is a challenging thing to do. Resonating and making an impact on people you interact with is a skill that takes a lot of practice, but with determination, can be mastered. So go ahead, reach out to some connections you haven’t spoken to in a while. See how they are doing and strengthen those bonds!