Networking 101 for Teens!
High school is a good time to start meeting with teachers, counselors, and professionals. You may meet with a teacher to talk about getting a recommendation letter for college or with a professional to get more information about a potential career you are interested in pursuing. Here are a few tips to make sure these meetings – also called networking opportunities go well.
Actually, get the meeting: Sometimes it is hard to network, but all it normally takes is a simple email and most people will be more than happy to meet with you. Just let them know in the email (1) who you are (2) why you would like to meet with them, include what you hope to get out of the meeting, and (3) and add times and days that may work best for you to meet.
Dear Mrs. Jackson,
I hope you are doing well. I was wondering if you have time to meet to discuss my future college plans. I would love to get tips from you about applying to college and to talk about recommendations. I am available next Monday – Wednesday after school at 3PM.
Dear Dr. Gray,
My name is Alex and I am a junior at George Adams High School in Manhattan. I am interested in applying to college to major in biology pre-med. I was wondering if you have time to meet with me to discuss what it is like to be a pediatrician. I am available every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 6PM.
Smile: While we hate telling people to smile, if you are looking to network with future employers; teachers that you hope will write you a recommendation; or potential mentors -people will have more positive opinions of you if you appear happy and pleasant.
Make eye contact: Body language is a huge part of networking and making eye contact is one of the most important aspects of having positive body language. It lets the person you are talking to know that they have your undivided attention and that you are listening to what they are saying.
Other body language: In addition to eye contact, it is important to practice not slouching, fidgeting, tapping your foot, or doing anything else that may indicate that you are bored or not interested in the person you are talking with.
Be prepared: Every networking opportunity is different, but it is important to always be prepared to explain a bit about yourself and what you are hoping to get out of the relationship with the person you are talking with. It may even be necessary to have a resume on hand. Having an elevator pitch might be a good idea for you.
Follow up: Maintaining communication is vital in building a network. When you meet people that you want in your network, reach out a few times a year to see how they are doing and to let them know what you are up to. It may help you get a job offer or recommendation later. Furthermore, if you meet someone for an informational interview or to get advice follow up with a thank you email to let them know that you appreciate their time. People also love to receive actual Thank you cards too!
Be yourself: Even with all these tips, it is most important to be yourself. People can easily tell if you are not being genuine or faking it. You are great, and it is important to let others see that!
Other quick networking tips:
Make contact/business cards so you can easily give your info to others
Make sure you have a professional email address.
If you need help with networking, reach out to your BridgeUP Fellow, your guidance counselor or a BeWell Health Coach.