Students Practice Networking Skills
Hate small talk with a stranger? Freeze during elevator pitches? Career Services hosted Business Networking 101 on Oct. 18 at Texas A&M University- San Antonio to give students the confidence in building business relationships.
Texas A&M University-San Antonio Career Services professionals and recruiters guided students through the do’s and don’ts of business networking to give a competitive edge.
In its second time running, Career Services wanted to give students a hands-on approach to overcome the fear of networking.
Business Networking 101 provides students with an insight to potential employers and builds relationships amongst peers.
“It’s a skill that we want them to have,” said Career Advisor Clarissa Tejeda.
“Career Services advisors want to ensure that students explore all of their options and make the leap out of their comfort zones to network with employers early on,” Tejeda said. “We want people to do it more often.”
Tejeda coordinated the event to start the conversation between students and employers.
Career services targeted employers to attend the event that were effective at teaching student networking and geared to help students learn the importance of networking.
A&M-San Antonio alumna and recruiter Katrina Reyna was on-hand at the event.
Reyna represented Zachry Hospitality with Hilton Palacio Del Rio. As a student, she attended similar events to help network.
Reyna has found that students are often afraid to venture out and move away from their comfort zones.
To help stand out to employers, Reyna said students should be active on LinkedIn, take part in organizations, adopt leadership roles and get active in the community.
Civic engagement coordinator Christina Guerra also advised students not to over-analyze.
“It’s a lot about working with others and getting comfortable with small talk,” Guerra said.
“People are preoccupied worrying about their own slip-ups that they overlook the slip-ups of others, Guerra said. “It’s about knowing when to turn off and on your role.”
Recruiter Miranda Miller with Accenture Federal Services, a global management and tech services company, attended the event to engage with students, sharpen interview skills, and give insight to the hiring process.
To gain an advantage in the tech field, Miller worked throughout college, did internships, and learned to voice her opinion.
Handshaking is a common mishap when it comes to networking. Managers often judge the strength of one’s handshake.
“It’s important to establish your power and dominance in a handshake,” Miller said.
Preparation for the future brought Carlos Rostro, a graduate student in the M.B.A. program to the Business Networking 101 event.
Rostro has found the Career Services events helpful. The events have given him the tools to sharpen his networking skills.
Every major needs to know how to network, Tejeda said. Graduate students are not the only school preparing for their future.
“I say the wrong things all the time,” said accounting junior, Mallorie Moreno.
Moreno often finds herself unprepared and says the wrong things at networking events.
Moreno feels confident practicing her networking skills in a smaller atmosphere.
Putting herself out there and being present is the best tool she’s learned through these events, said Moreno.
Moreno plans to attend future events to build the confidence and work through her fear of small talk.
Tejeda has found that students don’t do enough networking.
Conversations don’t start and end at the event, Tejeda said. A&M-San Antonio Career Services want students to keep the conversation going.
“Not following up after is a tough thing,” Tejeda said. “The more you practice, the easier it will get.”
Afterward would be a great time for students to send a LinkedIn request and customize the invite, said Tejeda. Don’t be afraid to follow up with an appropriate email to build your network.
To see upcoming Career Services events please visit http://www.tamusa.edu/careerservices/events.html.
Career Services also provides salary negotiation coaching, resume and cover letter writing. For a one-on-one coaching, visit career services at the Central Academic Building (CAB) Suite 211, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. To make an appointment call (210) 784-1356, walk-in hours are Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m.