3 Keys To Stress-Free Networking

By Hillary Mantis

Are online job postings not yielding enough interviews? Do you want to expand your summer job search? Do you think you should be networking but are confused about how to start? No worries—networking is actually easy.

Here are 3 tips for stress-free networking:


1 | Remember That Networking Is Just Another Conversation.

All you have to do is talk. It’s a conversation for the purpose of sharing information. This is really just like any other conversation you would have, when you are looking for information about anything. It happens all of the time throughout your day. This morning on my way into the office, a woman stopped me to ask me where to find a coffee shop in the neighborhood. Since I’ve worked in Manhattan for many years, I was able to quickly tell her about three different Starbucks in the neighborhood, as well as other coffee shops. I’ve simplified it, but it’s not all that different to network. You are asking someone who is experienced in a particular type of law practice to share information with you, and enable you to learn more about it.


2 | Prepare A List Of Questions In Advance.

Unlike an interview, you are actually the one in control of a networking conversation, which is another reason not to worry when networking. It’s basically a meeting that you have called.

You need to have an agenda, or in this case, a list of questions to ask. Let’s say you are interested in Intellectual Property Law. Do you want to know what are the growth areas? What particular qualifications you will need? What courses would be helpful to take in law school? Where jobs are advertised? Feel free to ask anything that would help, including asking the person you are networking with if they are willing to take a quick look at your resume and give you feedback.

By preparing questions in advance, you will remember to ask what you really need to know, which should reduce any stress you are experiencing.


3 | Follow Up Is Crucial.

Often the person you network with wants to help you. Now that you have met, there is a connection. But often you need to build upon the initial connection. It’s unusual for someone to know right off the bat of three employers that are hiring. But they might hear of something the following day. I have found the key to actually getting job leads through networking is to keep up with the person on a regular basis. This takes pressure off of you, as you do not have to accomplish everything during your first meeting.

Keep building the relationship and email them once in a while so that they will remember you. It’s a good idea to have a spreadsheet, or any other organizational chart you like, to track your networking meetings and results. Having a system and seeing how you are taking steps will help reduce your stress that you are not doing enough in your job search.

I would suggest setting up your first networking meeting with someone that is a friend of a friend, or someone who is not intimidating, to make it easier to get started. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but it should get better soon. After all, it is better to network than to not work!


Related articles:

3 Easy Steps Toward Achieving Your Career Goals

Strategic Planning For Your Summer Internship

5 easy ways to network with alumni

How to Answer Really Tough Interview Questions


Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students and lawyers. She is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers, and Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham. Questions about networking? You can reach Hillary at altcareer@aol.com.