Networking: create and develop your network to maximize your chances in the business world

Networking consists of building or maintaining a network of ties over time to encourage professional exchanges of knowledge, skills, services, and even interests. And it is very important also for students. These connections are meant to benefit both parties. And so, generosity, interest, and listening are key. Of course, you can do it both physically and online in today’s world. Finding an internship, a work-study program, a job, developing a firm or business, hiring new staff, finding new clients, and more are all situations where networking is used. However, building a network requires establishing a certain plan and taking on a specific attitude. The only condition for networking to be a useful tool is that you have a plan in place.

What conditions must be met for networking to be successful?

You must already be aware of your assets and have a clear goal in mind. It’s crucial to put a lot of effort into improving oneself first. What do I do well? My deficiencies? My values? Which industries are of interest to me? This makes sense logically: in order to choose the proper road, you must have a clear notion of your ultimate destination. Then knowing your assets also means knowing how your network is currently functioning. You all have one already. In fact, the best place to start when building a professional network is with the friends you already have or the acquaintances you already know. The likelihood that you will expand your network with their personal contacts will then increase with the strength of your connections. By taking the time to jot down all of the names, phone numbers, and emails for these folks, you can now accurately and clearly, not all of them. It must be very clear in your thoughts and in writing (in an Excel table for example).

Then you need to have the right communication tools

These three communication tools—the CV, the LinkedIn profile, and the pitch—must be meticulously prepared. They must be appropriate for your project, professional, and current. Remember that they must complement one another as well. You may promote yourself and set yourself apart from others with these tools. They play a crucial role in your personal branding strategy.

Finally, you must define your target audience and prepare to capture their attention

Visualizing the individuals you want in your network is the next stage after developing your tools to a high level. Because surrounding oneself with the proper people is an important part of networking. So you may begin by returning to the names you entered into your Excel spreadsheet and focusing on those who might be able to assist you in your approach.

Consider the following queries: “Who am I missing in my network?” and “How can I improve my network?” After that, let your objectives direct your actions. Indeed, the people of your network you choose will depend on the specifics of your project. For example, you might want to target a particular industry, business, or even job position. For instance, don’t be afraid to look through professional profiles on Linkedin to learn more about their past and previous employers. You may learn what’s happening in the industry you’re searching for by following groups or firms, and you can even stand out by demonstrating to recruiters your enthusiasm for the industry.

Other resources for information include:

– myjobglasses, a platform that seeks to foster interactions between experts and students.

– Glassdor, for business-related information.

How to proceed face-to-face?

The pitch

Your pitch is a succinct, compelling introduction to your professional goal. It works to draw interest. The length of the pitch will vary based on the situation; the framework will remain the same, but you can add or subtract details as needed. For instance, you can plan on 1–2 minutes for a job interview and no more than 1.5 minutes for an “on-the-spot” meeting. 

Things to consider:

  • Who am I? Describe yourself by giving your last name, first name, background (which should be related to your project), and your current course of study.
  • What are my assets? Mention your soft skills, your project-related experiences, and your skills. Remember to include relevant words and examples.
  • What are my interests? Tell us about your interests and personality traits to make yourself stand out from the crowd, especially if they are connected to your project.
  • How to conclude? Clearly describe your career goals and suggest a way to move the conversation further.


Tips about the posture to adopt

  • Your biggest ally in building these new relationships is active listening, to start with. Be curious, show interest in others, and be clear about your goals. A pretty fascinating thing to do is to formulate questions in advance. Prepare five questions, for instance, that you must ask, and then leave time for discussion.
  • Avoid mentioning that you are seeking anything, including a job, an internship, or anything else! Indeed, discussing your project entails expressing your desires rather than only stating your search for a particular item. Otherwise, the discussion will no longer flow naturally and the person in front of you will feel under pressure. Make it clear that learning about the other person, their background, and their industry is vital to you. A recommendation request or even a discussion of your search for an internship can be brought up later on in the conversation, but it must still come off as natural.
  • Last but not least, always be welcoming, cheerful, respectful, and professional.

Maintaining your network

After the first encounter, ideally within 48 hours, you should begin a follow-up process if you want the people you met to join your network. You should write them an email letting them know how much you liked meeting them and expressing your desire to keep in touch. In fact, networks go down due to carelessness. It is crucial to stay in touch so that the needs of the other person are addressed, regardless of the frequency and type of communication (lunch, exchanging items of interest, sending educational newsletters, etc.). Events throughout the year, such as holidays (but be mindful of other cultures), birthdays, the start of a new school year, summer, etc., can also aid in maintaining a network. Additionally, you can periodically update the people in your network on your progress and highlight how beneficial it has been to interact with them (“thanks to your advice…”). The ability to express gratitude to both the new people who have joined your network and those who have assisted in its growth is very important.

Final tips

Give a good image of yourself

  • First of all, be captivating from the first contact in order to arouse interest.
  • Then, be authentic and honest; and have a positive attitude (smile, optimism, etc.).
  • Finally, keep your sentences clear and short.

Mistakes to avoid

  • First, avoid being too insistent during meetings or reunions. Be alert and attentive to the reactions you get; and remain respectful.
  • Second, avoid sending an e-mail with the home address. Some people find it too invasive.
  • And finally, only collect business cards that you want to use, so as not to offend the owners.


Keep believing and persevering

In general, persistence and patience are needed. Remember that there are numerous ways to contact someone, secure an internship, and ultimately land a job. You shouldn’t assume that another individual won’t reply to you just because the first person didn’t.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of your professional life might be making connections, so try to unwind and just enjoy forging new connections by letting your talents and objectives direct your efforts.

The best way to develop your skills is to have experience abroad. USA Internships offer several options and we follow you up during all processes. Plus, for more tips, we also have the inspiration blog full of interesting insights. Don’t forget to read our latest blog ‘The importance of critical thinking for students. It only takes one click to change everything


MiM Specialisation in Communication and Media - ESCP Business School

Also you may be interested in...

Be part of it too

Live a unique experience, discover your full potential and start speaking English like a native.  Get in touch with us and we’ll explain it all to you.