Networking may seem just as intimidating as a job search, but it can be something as simple as eating pizza with others. In an article from The Muse titled “The Career-Changing Pizza Dinner That Made Me Realize Networking Actually Works,” writer Jessica Torlano recalls a casual networking dinner she attended, hosted by the editor-in-chief of Seventeen, when she was an aspiring writer on the verge of a career move.
Six women met for wine and pizza and discussed their career interests and ambitions, and a typical Saturday night activity turned into a productive networking session! Throughout the night, Jessica made connections that ultimately helped advance her career — and she even made a few friends along the way. Here’s what she recommends in order to be a successful networker:
- Say “yes.” If someone asks you to attend or do something moderately interesting, say yes! Don’t close yourself off to possibilities, since you never know who you may meet.
- Step out of your comfort zone. Networking is about learning, thinking and growing, not about comfort. Practice makes perfect; so the more you network, the easier it will get.
- Always follow up. Make sure not to let your efforts go to waste. Be sure to follow up afterward. For example, during the dinner, Jessica spoke with a woman who had launched her own networking startup. A few weeks later, when Jessica was in the process of fleshing out her own career idea, she reached out and asked if she could attend one of her networking sessions. The woman remembered her and offered Jessica a comp ticket to attend.
When you share an experience with someone, there’s something that connects the two of you. Leave your mind open to the potential of networking, realizing that the process doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put on a suit and a name-tag and attend a formal event.