You know that networking is essential for uncovering investment banking job opportunities and getting your foot in the door for an interview. But let’s face it: not everyone is naturally gregarious or extroverted. Some of us may find networking uncomfortable and a bit of a challenge.
Take heart, says certified professional career coach Natascha Saunders, in an article she wrote for Color Magazine USA. Even the most introverted candidate can network successfully. She goes on to bust some common myths about networking that could be holding people back.
Myth #1, you’ve got to know people in high places in order to network successfully. Not so, in fact setting up informational interviews with mid-range workers and even those lower down on the food chain can help you uncover insights about the company you’re targeting and who to speak to next. You can also use these interviews to perfect your 60-second elevator pitch for the more crucial interviews later on.
Myth No. 2: you’ve got to be a natural to network. Not so, says Saunders, who worked with a “timid” candidate who still managed to land an investment banking job at UBS in New York. Together, they worked on her image, her elevator pitch, and her reasons for wanting to network for more information. With practice, your pitch comes more naturally and you gain confidence. Saunders also recommends two books on networking: Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer and The Networking Survival Guide by Diane Darling.
Finally, don’t think that you need to know a lot of people to network well. Start small, with your friends, parents, parents’ friends, relatives, etc., and go from there. Put the whole “Six Degrees of Separation” principle to work in your favor. Someone will know someone who can open doors for you.
What’s your opinion? What networking technique or trick works especially well for you? Add your comments below.