Starting your professional work life can feel overwhelming. What should you do when you’re not sure of your future career goals? Networking with the right people can steer you in the right direction. To get started, follow these tips.
Do your homework
Learn everything there is to know about the organization you currently work for, like the names of important higher-ups. You don’t want to bump into the CEO in the break room and not know who you’re speaking to! Make it your business to put a name to every face.
Have a roadmap
Consider where you want to be in five years. What’s the best way to get that coveted position? Research who your supervisor would be if you made the move tomorrow, and make it a point to meet her and her boss. Start building those relationships. Also, what are the job requirements? How qualified are you now, what credentials do you still need? Consider how you will get those qualifications.
Network, Network, Network
Go to events and give yourself an assignment. Plan to meet 3 people who can positively impact your career path. Having this objective will help you stay on track and keep you focused.
Use your alumni network
Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you’ve left your alma mater behind. Don’t ignore your alumni network. You already have a connection with your fellow graduates. They can help you meet power-players in your field and offer invaluable industry tips—they were in your shoes once.
Get a sponsor
Even though you’re not a seasoned professional, your fresh perspective could be appealing to a power player looking for innovative ways to handle challenges. Before you approach him, take the time to learn about his projects, job history, business partners, and hobbies. Think of ways you can help him with his goals.
Tap into your confidence
When approaching a potential sponsor, you may feel intimidated, but don’t show it. Be positive and let him know how you can help him. Be sure to share an accomplishment you’re proud of. Leave him with the impression that you have a lot to offer if given the chance.
Dress to impress
Your clothes should be clean and fitted, but they should also make you feel good. Is there a color or a piece of jewelry that makes you feel confident? Wear it!
Use strong body language
Don’t slouch your shoulders and wring your hands. If you have a strong stance and maintain eye contact, they’ll remember you for it.
Before an event, practice what you’ll say when you meet people. Introduce yourself, and in a few direct words explain your position.