In early 2019, while staffing the Psi Chi booth at the EPA convention, several students asked what was the best way to build a solid career foundation? Without some thought, a good answer was hard to find, but this article could be a great way to help. There are three key things that can help when networking. Be yourself, stay in touch, and attend social events. Below, you can find in-depth explanations of these concepts.
First and foremost, being your true self opens more doors than you could imagine. If you initially start with a personality not honest with yourself, it can drain a lot out of you and your networking relationship. Sooner or later, the other person will start to realize that you aren’t really what you say you are and that can stunt the growth of the relationship. You will feel happier with yourself and your network because it aligns with your values and personal goals. This will radiate confidence, and confidence attracts more confidence, which produces productive relationships between you and your colleges.
Stay in Touch
Second, don’t forget to stay in touch! The initial conversation is the hard part. Once you nail that, all you will need to do is check in periodically. Every few months or so, send them an email just asking how they are doing. What projects they are working on. How you could possibly help. This builds trust and authenticity. In today’s day and age, it is so easy to keep track of everyone with technology such as social media. Shoot them a message letting them know that you are ready, available, and eager to build your working relationship.
Attend Social Events
Last, but not least, diversify your events. Investigate conferences that interest you whether it be locally, nationally, or internationally. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and take that leap. You never know who you may meet. Psi Chi sets up booths over the country at six regionals (EPA, MPA, RMPA, SEPA, SWPA, and WPA), various international conventions, and two national conventions (APA and APS). Visit https://www.psichi.org/regions_main to learn more about them and see if we will be in your area!
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to bring some Psi Chi merchandise at these conventions. Psi Chi holds over three quarters of a million members, so there is a high chance your next contact could also be a part of the society. A Psi Chi Portfolio, Psi Chi Stylus Pen, or even a Psi Chi Badge ribbon can help you stand out from the crowd. Look around the store here https://store.psichi.org. This is a great conversation starter to get your foot through the door.
As daunting of a task as it may seem, networking can open so many doors and opportunities to help further your career. Whichever path you choose, it can’t hurt to have a few people in your network who can assist in your growth. Just remember to be yourself, stay in touch, and put yourself out there. So, the next time you visit a regional convention, don’t be shy. Stop by the Psi Chi table and introduce yourself! We love meeting and speaking with you all. Happy networking!