If you're a student and struggling to understand, what is really networking and how to do it, this is for you.
When I was a hospitality student like you I was told networking is important in getting jobs and building a career. But I had no idea what that meant!
What do you do when you “network”?
Today I am sharing it all with you. Networking 101 for hospitality students AND the best tips for networking online in the new world of 2020!
If you are a more visual person, watch the video instead :)
What is Networking, really?
Students don’t have a lot of business and hospitality industry resources available specifically designed for them/you, that tell how things work in real life.
All existing information expects you to know a lot of background to be able to understand it. It's not designed for students. I am here to break it down for you.
Let's first define what networking is and is not.
Networking is NOT:
Just for salespeople
Exchanging business cards
Just done at large events
Just connecting with someone on LinkedIn
And it is definitely not
About asking for a job
Asking for advice
Seeking and offering support and guidance
Staying in touch
It is about connecting with people and building relationships with them even if you’ve left the company or moved countries.
So now that we’re clear on what networking is and isn’t, let's get started with doing it.
4 steps to getting started with networking today
Let's be clear on one thing first.
Do you need LinkedIn to network?
Yes, but it's just one platform and one that is very useful and practical today. With events and physical meetings cancelled LinkedIn is essential. It's not the only thing, but a good place to start today.
Get started with LinkedIn today and start networking.
Step 1: Set up your LinkedIn profile
Connect with all your professors, classmates and any colleagues you’ve worked with on LinkedIn.
Join university network groups on LinkedIn and make sure to have your university linked in your profile, so that you can be found on the alumni pages!
Connect with me on LinkedIn while you’re at it too! ;)
Step 2: Curate your feed
You need to make sure your home page shows you content that is relevant and interesting to you.
Follow companies you know, are interested in or would like to work for. Cast a wide net of small and large companies, globally and locally.
Once you go the page of one company and click follow, LinkedIn shows you drop down of similar companies that you may be interested in, check them out as well.
Join groups and follow hashtags as well, this will allow you to see content beyond your direct network and build a larger pool of connections.
Is there is a person that you find interesting that you cannot or don’t dare to connect with? Just click +Follow and their public content and content they engage with will be shown on your feed too.
PROTIP: curate your other social media content too!
Make sure you follow businesses and industry people on Instagram and Facebook too! Not just "influencers" and entertainers. Start by following me @savvyhotelier on Instagram 😉
Step 3: Engage with content and people
Set 30min aside every day to check your LinkedIn feed and engage with it.
What does it mean to engage?
React to other people’s posts by liking and or commenting on them. It’s really that simple.
Comments are the best form of engagement because they showcase your knowledge and curiosity to other people, rather than just likes. You can start great conversations in LinkedIn comments and build connections with new people!
Step 4: Share and connect
Staying connected and building relationships with your LinkedIn connections is about continuity. If you only reach out once a year when you need a job, that’s not networking.