Networking Tips for Millennials


Networking Tips for Millennials

It’s not what you know, but who you know. In today’s job market, it is estimated that 60-80% of jobs are found through networking. Because Millennials are newer to the job market, their networks may be smaller than their peers’ from other generations. Bridge the gap with these tips on navigating networking:


Give and take.

Yes, the purpose of networking is to further your career by meeting other people, but don’t forget it is a two-way street. Remember the people you meet are connecting with you for the same reason you’re connecting with them. If someone you meet is looking for a great IT professional to add to their team, introduce them to your colleague with years of experience. Don’t just look for ways that your network can help you! You should also add value to their professional development, even if it just means complimenting them on a recent promotion or achievement.


Keep talking.

Remember those old commercials with the Energizer Bunny who just wouldn’t stop? Be the Energizer Bunny of communication with your network. Within 48 hours of meeting someone, follow-up with a friendly email. Add your new connection on LinkedIn and don’t you dare use the generic “I’d like to add you to my network” default email. If your connections post an article or blog on LinkedIn, read it and engage in a thoughtful conversation about it. Meeting someone once does not qualify as a meaningful connection. The relationship is built and maintained after the initial meeting takes place by continuing the conversation.


Ease into it.

If you are overcome with nerves at just the thought of saying hi to a stranger, networking may seem like a nightmare. Ease yourself into it by signing up to volunteer an upcoming networking event. Being a volunteer means you won’t have to awkwardly stand around looking for potential connections, but you will be forced to communicate with everyone in some way, even if that means just checking in at the registration table. After you work a few events, you’ll warm up to the idea of networking and chances are you will have made a few connections without even trying!


Find a mentor.

No networking opportunities in the near future? Make it happen on your own. Use LinkedIn to search for people in your field or desired position. Send an invitation to connect with a note about how you are interested in hearing about their career, and would love to schedule time to talk. It may be uncomfortable to reach out to people you admire, but getting advice from someone who has traveled the career path you wish to be on is invaluable.


Go it alone

Don’t rely on a friend or coworker to keep you company at a networking event. Bringing a buddy to a networking event will make it less intimidating, but also less effective. Having someone around to talk to will prevent you from branching out and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.