The Mentorship Spot
Top 5 Tips to Proper Networking
Written By Beata Fourmanovskis
Applying for an internship can be one of the most nerve-wracking moments of university. I know because I’ve been there. In my third year of the Schulich School of Business at York University, I applied for and accepted an offer to join Deloitte as a summer intern with the Finance and Performance team. Based on my experiences, here is my best advice on how to properly network so you can land your dream internship or full-time job. 1. Do your research This one may seem obvious, but the number of people who don’t research leading up to networking events is shocking. Just 10 to 15 minutes of googling beforehand can boost employers’ first impressions of you. It may also be helpful to write 10 to 20 questions to ask the recruiters. This will keep the conversation flowing smoothly and encourage them to notice your interest in them. A thorough research session should give you a clear idea of how your interests align with the company. Understanding and communicating that to recruiters will help them connect you to the right people. Do not repeat the information you find online. Word it in a way that connects it to your values, interests, and aspirations. This shows that you did your research and, more importantly, you would be a great fit for the firm and the internship. 2. Dress to impress As a business student, I quickly learned that my suit would become my biggest ally at networking events and interviews. Employers are not expecting you to break the bank to buy one from Gucci or Louis Vuitton. My first networking blazer was from Sears. That being said, it must look presentable, fit well, and include a shirt, blazer, dress pants or a dress shirt, and dress shoes or sandals preferably pumps or ballet flats. 3. Networking like a pro Now that you have done your homework on the company and got yourself dressed up, it is time to put it to use at networking events. Remember getting out there is the first step to turning your hopes into a reality. Try to stand out. This may involve discussing your interests, hobbies, and experiences to make yourself seem unique. Last year, I interned at KPMG with the M&A (Mergers and Acquisition) team in Tel Aviv, Israel. I was able to talk about my amazing time there including the projects I worked on, which helped me stand out. Be polite. Remember to balance the amount of time you are speaking and listening. Too much of either can make you come across as out of touch. Be authentic. There is no secret recipe for networking that will guarantee you a job. When I was networking with Deloitte recruiters and employees, I came across as genuine by asking specific questions about consulting and sharing why I wanted to go into consulting. The last touch: Don’t forget to exchange business cards so you can maintain the relationship after the networking event. 4. Email the people you met after the event After every networking event, add the people you want to connect with again on LinkedIn. Email them to say that it was nice to meet them and that you would like to stay connected. Do this as soon as possible so that they will remember you and see that you are a serious applicant. When emailing, use the topics that were brought up during the conversation to jumpstart the recruiter’s memory of you. You will usually get a reply. From there, you can request a phone call or coffee chat to talk to them one on one. Do not feel that you have to email every person you meet at an event. If you did not connect with someone, you do not have to email them to request a coffee chat. 5. Tips on coffee chats If you have emailed the people you want to keep in touch with and want to go on a coffee chat with them, provide three to five dates and times for the chat at a location convenient for the person you are meeting with. Arrive at the coffee chat location five to ten minutes early and have a notebook ready filled with questions to ask the employee. During the chat, it’s okay if you don’t get through all of your questions, as long as the conversation feels natural. Do not use the coffee chat as an opportunity to beg for an internship or full-time position. The purpose of the coffee chat is to learn about the firm and its culture, learn about the day-to, and to build a solid connection. Make sure to email the person that you met with after the coffee chat thanking them for taking the time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. These five tips have helped me land an internship at Deloitte and I hope they will help you land your dream internship or full-time job. Remember to always play to your strengths and never let a rejection get you down. This is a learning process and these tips are to guide you in your journey networking and landing an internship/full-time job. If you have any questions for me, add me on LinkedIn. I would be happy to chat further. Best of luck.