How to network like a professional

Career advisors Sam Heimbach and Bruce Howard
Career advisors Sam Heimbach and Bruce Howard

By Connor Brown

c_b280@txstate.edu

Career Service advisors from Texas State University, Sam Heimbach and Bruce Howard, delivered a hands-on workshop Wednesday to teach students valuable networking skills in today’s job market.

With a touch of humor, Heimbach and Howard covered everything from what to wear to networking events, to how to exit an awkward conversation.

“This is something you’re going to do throughout your career,” said Howard, career advisor of the McCoy College of Business. “Your network is your net-worth.”

The workshop started with tips on how to prepare for networking events such as researching representatives and companies beforehand and how best to approach people with an “elevator speech.”

An “elevator speech is a quick introduction within the span of about 30 seconds or an elevator ride,” said Heimbach, a career advisor in the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

According to Howard and Heimbach, the purpose of an elevator speech is to encompass the key points of what a potential employer should know, such as major, graduation date and what interests one may have in their professional field or company.

“It’s hard to step into this whole networking thing and nail it right out of the bag,” said Howard. “But you eventually want to get to the point where you can master the art of conversation.”

Bruce Howard refers to powerpoint
Bruce Howard refers to powerpoint

Both advisors stressed that a critical part of “selling your individual brand” is explaining what job seekers can offer employers. Howard and Heimbach encouraged students to consider networking as an opportunity, not as an intimidating venture. 

“Someone said to focus on what was said so you don’t have them repeat answers, so I think that was a good takeaway from this whole event,” said public relations major Michael Rogas on how to properly enter into conversations within a group setting.

“I’m very good at maintaining a conversation, but I am not good at ending a conversation,” said Thayer Cranor, a mass comm advertising student. “I do what is known as an awkward shuffle away from professionals, and they don’t like that last impression.”

Cranor said he would practice more professional exits after this workshop. 

Quoting Ivan Misner, founder of Business Network International, on the presentation powerpoint, “It’s not net sit or net eat, it’s called network.”

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