10 Networking Tips for VotoLatino Young Professionals
Don't be the one standing alone by the food table. While the thought of networking makes many cringe, it is necessary to create and cultivate important relationships. Here are hard-learned tips from a variety of networking situations to maximize your network and leadership ability.
1. Don't drink too much alcohol at professional networking events.
Being a young professional who is strapped for cash is no excuse to dry an open bar. You are making first impressions and if you are a drunk, people will remember.
2. If drinking, stay off social media, but more generally think things through before you post.
Whatever you think is funny, insightful, or great will not be that when you sober up. If you post an embarrassing picture it will be online forever. If you tweet something off-color you are risking your job.
3. At events, post-up next to a high traffic area.
Stand by the door, or the bar, where a lot of the folks will be walking by. That gives you an opportunity to speak to new and different people.
4. Find a mentor and when you are established be a mentor.
A mentor will take you to events so you can meet people of substance. A mentor will vouch for you, tell your story, and help you transition to the next level.
Successful people take young professionals under their wings all the time. They will invest their precious time in you if you are not a slacker and demonstrate genuine interest.
5. Be confident, not arrogant.
It's a fine line between the two but you must walk it. It will take time to figure out the balance but just remember to be genuine.
6. Stop taking selfies
Don't give into the celebrity selfie culture that is destroying our society. Don't post pictures of yourself making Kimye faces. Be a person of substance, not a filtered snapshot.
Apply this to your networking mindset as well. Don't be a showoff at events -- you are not more important than your peers. Success is temporal.
7. If you have good ideas share them in #oped format.
When entering the workplace you will have fresh ideas about how things should be done. Share them in opinion pieces.
Online periodicals are always looking for content, submit substantive, thought out work and it will get posted. Once posted your brand will grow on search engines.
8. Silo your social media.
Keep Facebook for family and real friends. Unfriend all non-essential personnel and make the account private.
Make Twitter your professional and intellectual voice. Tweet things that reflect what you want people's impression of you to be.
9. Dress better than your boss.
It's all about image. Dressing sharp can be your schtick and is door opener. You'll find that people will always comment on how great you are dressed once you get started. They will remember you for that so be consistent.
Young Pro Tip - Buy a seasonal GQ or Vogue magazine and copy the looks. Get a blue and grey suit. Don't wear black shoes! Black shoes are for funerals and formal events. Finally, you don't need to wear Brioni suits to dress well. You can find great values at Nordstrom Rack or at Banana Republic.
10. Just be yourself.
If you've lost your way, give your mom or dad a call. They'll help you find your bearings.
Luis Andre Gazitua is a Government Affairs Lawyer and Miami Lobbyist. The 10 tips were prepared for Voto Latino Power Summit in Miami.