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How To: 10 steps for networking

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  1. Set goals for networking after identifying your needs and interests. What's your focus? Your drive to succeed in the industry?
  2. Find formal and informal networks on LinkedIn, through a college career center, by joining a professional organization, or attending a conference in the industry.
  3. Brainstorm your contact list. Consider everyone you know to be a contact.
  4. Develop questions to ask your contacts.
  5. Prepare an elevator pitch that is about 15-30 seconds. It should contain your interests and objectives for networking. Explain what you do, who you are, and what you're looking for. Communicate your unique selling proposition. Engage the listener by making him care with a call to action or a question.
  6. Think of ways to find new contacts through your network. Ask for opportunities via these new connections.
  7. Be professional. Figure out what you want before you start; acknowledge that the person is doing you a favor, and send thank you notes.
  8. Be industrious (diligent and hardworking). Productivity is key to getting ahead.
  9. Be persistent. Dictionary.com defines persistence as "continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition." Face each challenge as an opportunity.
  10. Don't be afraid to cold call or email. Find out the company's needs and offer your services for free or for internship credit.
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