12 Networking Tips for Young Careerists Ready to Be Taken Seriously

Networking Tips for the Young CareeristBuilding a personal brand that resonates with employers and customers is hard. While in or just out of school, it can often seem impossible. So our friends at YEC asked some of their members this question:

“What’s advice would you give a young careerist or entrepreneur who wants to build a network but is having trouble being taken seriously?”

Here’s what they had to say:

Take the Role of the Mentee

“I was able to build my network at a young age by taking the role of an innocent mentee trying to learn as much as I could from the older and wiser. For young people, flattery is one of the best tools that you can use to connect with power players. Many established professionals would love to connect with younger careerists and entrepreneurs — especially if they see a little of themselves in the younger person.”

– Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

Believe in Your Vision

“I recently met someone I thought was approximately my age. He was as confident as I was, took his business as seriously, and had a similar sized organization. The day after we met, I learned he was a decade younger. Serious commitment to your vision, organization, and knowledge makes you seem much older and more experienced than you may seem to yourself.”

– Brennan White, Watchtower

Find Your Tribe

“The company you keep is an important driver in your success. No matter the age, there are like-minded people who share your passions and your mindset. Seek them out and surround yourself with respectable, successful people who will support you in your dream and support you, as well. ”

– Brendan Mangus, Colorwheel Media Consulting

Use School to Your Advantage

“Utilize connections from your university. Wherever you are, you should be proud to be a member of that community. Connect with those people and grab coffee or lunch with graduates who are successful. Meeting with current students is also fun; they need to eat lunch, and it is always great to receive help from someone who has been in your shoes.”

– Bryan Silverman, InStall Media

Offer to Help Others

“Offering to help others for free, even though they are many years your senior, is what helped me build a network that spans continents, generations and industries at age 20. Organizing local events such as conferences, meetups and dinner parties also helped tremendously, and so did being central to community organizations such as the Oxford Entrepreneurs and the Kairos Society.”

– Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me

Ask Great Questions

“Ask people ultra-specific questions and don’t make busy professionals do the work for you. Do the research up front, ask the question, and then provide a couple of options for the entrepreneur to provide very specific feedback on. You’re making it easy on them to answer and they’ll be impressed you have done the leg work prior to reaching out. You’ll be surprised how many people want to help you!”

– Ryan Stephens, Ryan Stephens Marketing

Know Your Targets

“If you’re trying to build a network of great leaders and mentors, take time to learn about each target before you approach her. Read as many books or articles by the person as you can get your hands on, and then approach her with thoughtful, specific questions based on her work. This will set you apart from other young careerists and entrepreneurs and make it easier to forge a relationship.”

– Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

Use Youth to Your Advantage

“If you haven’t found mentors and guides who are impressed by a young, ambitious go-getter like yourself, then you haven’t been talking to enough, or the right, people.”

– Zach Clayton, Three Ships Media

Get Credible as Fast as Possible

“Do what you can to score some well-known mentors, customers and employers. Get publicity or surround yourself with other successful individuals. Build your perceived value, and let your actions do the talking for you. People can doubt you because of your age, but they can’t argue with results.”

– Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

Start a Blog

“Few successful people will turn down press. Reach out to people you admire and say, “I’m a student, and I run a blog where I interview successful people. Could you spare 20 minutes to help students learn about what you do?” They won’t care that your blog has a small readership because it’s helping students, and you’ll gain them as a contact in the process. Just follow up to build the relationship.”

– David Gardner, ColorJar

Network in Your Existing Circles

“This happened to me when I started my first company in college. A lot of people wouldn’t take me seriously because I was 19. Use classes you take as networking time, and use the people you meet as your test. You need to know everything about them: the industry, current trends and names they might drop. Go out and get an “A,” and you won’t be doubted again.”

– Trace Cohen, Launch.it

Online, No One Knows Your Age

“No one can tell how old you are from an email unless you tell them. Take advantage of that fact, at least when you’re making initial contact. Go online and build your network there as a start, and don’t make a big deal about your age. You can find opportunities to prove yourself before you meet with anyone in person!”

– Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

 

YEC

 

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

 

 

This entry was posted in Career Advice, Gen Y, Networking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.