Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Y2Y Alum Guest Post: #Networking in the Digital Age

5 Tips to Successful Networking

 by Alexis Ginsberg, '11, Account Manager, AOD Social at VivaKi Nerve Center, a digital advertising agency and R&D center & subsidiary of the worldwide media holding company Publicis.  Alexis manages social media acquisition and engagement campaigns across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for large brands like J.P. Morgan Chase, Reckitt-Benkiser, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, and H&M.  

These days, networking can be the difference between a seized opportunity and a missed chance.  Honing your networking skills and using them effectively can yield huge benefits, like relationships with professional mentors, widening your knowledge and expertise in your chosen field, or even helping you land your dream job.  However, the ‘art’ of networking is a balancing act, and many find themselves fluctuating between too much, not enough, and just right. 

Here are five simple networking tips from a self-proclaimed networking pro – try them out in your own area of interest and see how it goes.  #No harm, no networking foul.


 1. Beef up your LinkedIn – ASAP

Think of your LinkedIn as your Facebook gone professional – this should be considered your online resume, and when used the right way, can be a springboard for your networking potential.  Make sure it stays updated with current employer information, past experiences, contact information, and any and all skill sets you have acquired. 

2. Don’t be shy…or pushy

LinkedIn is a great way to test your networking chops by allowing you to search your connections’ connections, and reach out based on a commonality, whether it be the school you graduated from, the city you live in, or a shared industry contact.  College alumni groups and individuals is always a great place to start.  My theory – when it doubt, reach out. 

3. Be friendly, but direct

People are usually willing to help someone they can relate to, that reminds them of their younger, more eager selves.  When reaching out to someone new, make sure you are asking for something tangible and feasible, whether its advice on bolstering your resume, or how to negotiate a raise.  If you come across as bright, friendly, willing and hungry for knowledge, you’ll make great connections that you can then build relationships with. 

4. Meet & Greet, but stay in touch

Once you establish contact with a great colleague or mentor, don’t forget to keep in touch.  This doesn’t mean daily emails or constant phone calls (this is also known as pestering) but more so a thoughtful, concise check-in that lets them know any professional developments in your life, as well as theirs.  Occasionally reconnecting builds a rapport with your contacts and guarantees you stay top of mind.

5. When the time is right, take it offline

After making contact, maintaining considerate email correspondence and developing a friendly and trusting relationship, it might be time to consider meeting in-person.  Putting faces to names is always a great way to take digital networking into the real world.  You’d be surprised - coffee can do wonders.

Now go forth and network!  You can start with me.

Y2Y (Yellowjacket to Yellowjacket) is an opportunity for current students to get relevant advice from UR Alumni. Have some tips? Contact Kerrie, kmerz@z.rochester.edu.

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