Networking Tips from the Experts

By Becca Broaddus

Four Baylor Business faculty and staff members entrusted with preparing students for their job hunts share their tips for effective networking.

Ken Buckley

Assistant Dean of Career Management

  1. Build the relationship first. One of the major fears of networking is asking someone for something when you have no connection or relationship with them. Build the relationship first.
  2. Always be prepared to connect. Look for opportunities to meet others and take advantage of those opportunities. Introduce yourself, make great eye contact, and have a warm smile and a firm handshake.
  3. Be informed and interesting. Be well read—know what is happening in the business world in the U.S. and internationally.

Hope Koch

Associate Professor of Information Systems

  1. Complete your profile. Baylor has two career management systems: HireABear for all Baylor students, and the business school is piloting Handshake for business majors. Students and alumni seeking employment should complete their profiles.
  2. Apply to the company’s website. Most companies use the career fair to get you interested in their company. Before they can hire you, they need your electronic résumé and application in their hiring system.
  3. Show your interest. For students, if you are interested in a particular company, catch up with them while they are on campus. Many companies host information sessions, and meet and greets. They can get to know you at these events, and then they’ll recognize your name when they view the online applications.

Andrea Dixon

Executive Director of the Center for Professional Selling and the Keller Center

  1. LinkedIn: The 21st Century Rolodex. LinkedIn requires active work to create a useful personal networking tool. Every event you attend, you will meet people face-to-face. Follow up and add them to your database. Share positive take-aways from the event and invite the other person to do the same. (Younger business professionals may want to check Google/Wikipedia for this Rolodex reference.)
  2. Your online = your offline. What you put online is your face-to-face brand. You cannot engage with people and present yourself as a person of positivity while showing a sarcastic persona online.
  3. Tell me about yourself. This is the “Golden Question.” It is the question that is most poorly handled in interviews and in casual conversation. Do not provide the chronological response. What is distinctive about you? What are concrete examples that demonstrate your distinctiveness? Start there.

Daniel Shallcross

Director of Accounting Internships & Career Development

  1. Plan ahead and do research. Know how you want to introduce yourself and what you want to say. Once you know your conversation starters and what you want to say, practice in a mirror to yourself. Also, research the participants who may be in attendance at the networking event.
  2. Be confident and assertive. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a stranger. Please note: being assertive is not the same thing as being aggressive. An assertive communication approach isn’t shy or passive, but maintains respect for others and encourages others around you to be assertive too.
  3. Be an active listener. People love to talk about themselves and their passions. After learning something about the person you are networking with, ask open-ended follow-up questions to show you are interested.

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Baylor Business Review, Spring 2016

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