Networking is a ‘Contact Sport’

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Published November 6, 2016
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The Montclarion
Photo courtesy of fdecomite (Flickr)

Photo courtesy of fdecomite (Flickr)

Jennifer Santiago of Enterprise Holdings gave a workshop on proper tips and techniques for effective networking for college students. The workshop was held in lecture hall room 101 in the Feliciano School of Business.

The workshop catered to business students, but the information Santiago gave was relevant to anyone looking to expand their network, or anyone planning to find a job. Santiago gave her workshop to a room about half full of business majors.

A range of items were covered in regard to networking. She noted three reasons students avoid networking; they see it as selling themselves and don’t want to get rejected, they lack self-confidence because they don’t have experience with networking, and because of what she called the “microwave mentality”— which is expecting things to happen right away.

“Don’t expect to go to a networking event and leave with a job,” she said.

A portion of the presentation was centered around branding. Santiago discussed an “elevator pitch,” or a 15 to 30 second statement that adds value to who you are. She highlighted developing a virtual brand as an important part.

Santiago stressed that students should be mindful of what they put online and on social media and that everyone should be on LinkedIn. According to Santiago, over 92 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential candidates.

Tips for large networking events were shared at the event. At a networking event, one should use the “power of three”—look for groups of three people talking and engage with the person least involved in the conversation. Also, according to Santiago, avoiding politics and religion in conversation at networking events is a must.

Other networking do’s and don’t’s were also shared, such as: don’t go to a networking event on a completely empty stomach, always hold food or drinks in your left hand so you can shake hands with your right and, “don’t sit with people you already know,” she said, explaining that “it defeats the whole purpose.”

Students were able to leave the workshop with knowledge and tips they can implement as they navigate the professional world.

“I thought it was a really good event,” said 21-year-old retail management major, Justin Pietromonico. “She’s an excellent speaker and I took a lot away from it in regards to stepping out of your comfort zone.” Moving forward, Pietromonico plans to incorporate a lot of what he learned from Santiago in his professional life.

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