Six Rules for Effective Networking

Guest Post by: Sandra Buteau, GUAA Coaching Partner

If you cringe as soon as you hear the word “networking,” you should know that you are not alone. Many of us in the world feel the same way. During the course of my professional career as a leadership and career coach, networking has been a recurring theme discussed in practically every single one of my coaching engagements. No matter where you are in your career, you need to embrace networking to expand your professional reach or move up to the next level.

Last month, as a guest Webinar speaker for the Georgetown Alumni community, I encouraged participants to view networking from a different perspective and consider it as a way of making connections, talking to people, seeking information, and building community by interacting with others. Think about it not only as a great opportunity to hear fresh ideas and open doors to help you progress in your career no matter your profession, but also to develop new friendships whether on a personal or professional level.

Some individuals have a natural talent for interacting with other people in professional and social settings while many others struggle and agonize at the thought of putting themselves out there. The good news is that networking is a skill that anyone can learn if you are committed to it and challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone from time to time.

To help you navigate the process of making connections effectively, I present to you my 6 Rules for Effective Networking.

1. Bring your true and authentic self to any networking efforts. Do not pretend someone you are not.

2. Instead of being afraid of making connections with strangers, change your frame of mind to view networking as sharing, learning, connecting, having good conversations and interactions with others.

3. To be an effective networker you must first adopt the attitude of a giver. Give every person you meet your undivided attention. Listen carefully and ask open-ended questions seeking to learn as much as you can about the other person to support or offer your help with no expectation that something will be given to you in return.

4. As you are building and maintaining your personal network, focus on quality of the relationships. Networking is not a numbers game. If you are planning to attend an event, avoid committing yourself to meet everyone that you come across. Be prepared to devote time and energy to develop meaningful and long-lasting connections.

5. Think of networking as a two-way street. Effective networking requires “sharing.” Someone helps you out today and you help them out later.

6. Always be prepared to make connections. Be open to starting conversations and speaking to everyone around you. You will be surprised that when you ask someone to tell you their story, amazing connections can develop.

What do you commit to do today to move forward in your networking journey?

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Top 5 Issues We See in Alumni Resume Reviews

Did you know Alumni Career Services provides free virtual resume and cover letter reviews?  
You can simply submit your resume and/or cover letter to acs@georgetown.edu with a brief description of the types of things you will be using it for and a member of our staff with respond via email with a critique within 10 business days.  Did I mention this service was free?  For full details visit our website.   In the meantime, get a head start  by reviewing the 5 most common pieces of advice we provide alumni in their critiques.

1.  You need a stronger professional summary.  Once you have gained significant experience in your industry/field (generally 10+ years post graduation), a summary statement is a great way to highlight key skills and strengths. It allows you to highlight themes in your work experience and skills.  Check out our recent blog post dedicated to the dreaded professional summary.

2. Consider a functional format.  Functional resumes can be particularly useful during career transitions to emphasize transferable skills or if you are re-entering the workforce and you want to de-emphasize a gap on your resume. Functional resumes organize your accomplishments by skill area (i.e., management experience, communications experience, technical expertise, etc) with employer information (organization, title, and time frame) listed at the end of the resume).

3.  Consider length.  Given the fact that recruiters only have a few seconds to take in all that is on your resume, typically resumes should not go over 2 full pages. In order to maximize the space on the page try increasing your margins to .5 all the way around and decreasing the point size between sections to 5. You can also try decreasing your font size but we do not recommend going below a 10 point font.  Check out our recent blog post on maximizing space on your resume.

4.  Create your bucket lists.  It is often a good idea to group like experiences into categories. Some examples may include “Related Work Experience,” “Leadership Experience,” “Community Outreach,” “Higher Education Experience,” “Research Experience,” “Writing Experience,” etc.  Always put the most relevant/important groupings toward the top. These “buckets” will help a recruiter very quickly be able to glean information about your skill set/experiences.

5.  Don’t undersell! Often alumni sell themselves short in their employment descriptions. Quantify where possible to give the reader a sense of scope. For example, budget numbers, employee numbers, business size, etc would all help paint a picture of your work and just how busy you are! Additionally, you may be able to give a bit more detail in some cases. For example, go through your bullet points and for each ask who? what? and how? Are you providing the reader with not only the task but the process and accomplishment associated with it?

Check out our recent webinar on Resumes, Interviewing, & the World of Work along with many others about resume writing on our YouTube channel: