Young Professional Development: Digital Networking

By Morgan McPhearson Keyboard

With the use of email, LinkedIn and Twitter, there are several different ways to network with people who may not be in your immediate circle of contacts. Each media channel presents an occasion for you to introduce yourself to employers and mentors who may provide you with an opportunity for career advancement.

The key is to take advantage of these channels, and send a message to people with whom you want to network. Here are a few tips when reaching out:

Get to the point. Most people are busy, and already receive a lot of emails and messages. Keep the message to a few concise lines, so your contact can quickly understand the email.

Personalize. If you know the person you are contacting, tell them of the last time you met to refresh their memory. If you are sending a "cold call" by email, make it clear as to how you are connected with them; for instance, you may have read an article they published, or you were at a public appearance of theirs.

Establish a goal. Do you have questions that can be answered via email?  Or would you rather pick their brain at lunch? Whatever your goal is, make it clear to your contact so they can help you, or they can point you in the direction of someone who can.

Follow up. People are busy. They may intend to respond to your inquiry, but it may have been pushed to the bottom of his or her to-do list. Do not be afraid to follow up, and give them a quick reminder about why you reached out in the first place.

Most people are very willing to help – they were young professionals at one point, too. Therefore, do not hesitate to reach out. Just keep these few tips in mind to ensure your success.

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