The Importance of Networking

By: Phil Burrows
Tips,Tricks & Apps to Help You Build and Maintain Meaningful Business Relationships

In my previous blog posts, I spoke a bit about how to kick off your new job or internship on the right foot and how to avoid stress when the going gets tough.

With the summer winding down and many students wrapping up their internships and heading back to school, this can sometimes be a hectic transition. Some things you may be scrambling to figure out are…

How do I express my interest for future employment?

What should I get for my awesome boss as a parting gift?

While these may seem like basic questions, the transition can be much smoother and beneficial if you’ve been networking during your time on the job. Here are some tips and tricks to ensuring you make the most of your relationships and maintain them going forward.

Why Networking Is Important

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. I personally have acquired my internship opportunities through networking and established many great relationships that have lead me to additional opportunities. In a world where everything is moving so fast paced on the internet and the digital revolution has exploded, face to face interaction has been put on the back burner however, that makes for a great opportunity. By building meaningful business relationships in person, it allows professionals to put a face to the name, get to know and understand you better, and see the type of work you do first hand rather than just seeing a PowerPoint presentation. The benefits are endless and not only will this allow you to learn and grow as professionally, it can lead to future job opportunities that set you apart from those who have not had the chance to prove themselves.

Maintaining Relationships: The Fine Balance of Quality vs. Quantity

Ah yes, the stressful part of networking and building relationships is how you actually maintain them. This is something that I first struggled to understand when I first began to meet new people and build contacts early in my college career. Some questions I had for myself were: If I met 20 people at a conference, how do I manage to maintain conversation and relationships with each one? What I’ve come to learn is you don’t necessarily maintain all but focus and manage the quality relationships.

While it is great to meet as many new people as you can, it is also important to remember that it is not about the number of contacts you have but, the quality of the relationships you build. It is important to understand that meeting as many people as you can is never going to be a bad thing as you never know what doors may open up for you .When wrapping up your internship or even in the thick of your career, make sure the contacts that you have either worked closely with or have built authentic, meaningful relationships with, you stay in touch with on a regular basis. These are the people that will help you grow, learn and help you with career opportunities when the time comes.

Tech To The Rescue

Even though I described networking as primarily a face to face relationship building asset above, there are a couple of cools apps that make maintaining these contacts a breeze and helps keep them organized on the go on your smartphone that I have found to be helpful.

  1. LinkedIn –It has become one of the most popular social networking platforms to date. You are able to build a profile in a non-limited resume type fashion, connect with professionals you have met, engage in conversations, and showcase your skills to employers. This platform is available on almost all mobile devices and is a great way to manage your connections on the go.

  1. Card Munch – We’ve all heard someone say they are going to have to have to check their rolodex for a contact. Well, times have changed and this neat app is digital version of a rolodex with even more capabilities. When you receive someone’s business card, you can simply scan the card with the app and it will sort all of the information into one neat contact. This contact can then be synced into your LinkedIn account as well as added into your emails and phone contacts directly into your phone in a breeze. It is the best way to manage business cards you get on the go and without stuffing your pocket.

Phil is an external communications coordinator, supporting public relations and integrated marketing for Verizon. His responsibilities include creating new ways to engage with the FiOS consumer base and media, both nationally and locally. While he often writes about the latest FiOS news, he also enjoys networking and discussing how technology is fueling a change in our everyday lifestyle.