Networking 101

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 03, 2019

We’ve all had to do some sort of networking before, however, the networking culture in Texas does not compare to what you will encounter in Washington D.C. It may seem intimidating at first but have no fear! I have a few tips to prepare you for what to expect once you arrive in D.C.
Tip #1: Always carry your business cards with you!!
You never know who you will meet. I had the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill so I would see many influential people on a daily basis just by walking through the halls. Even when I was working in the office, I’d meet important people from my district that I was able to engage in conversation with. Most of the time you should ask for their business card so you can initiate further conversation later, however, there have been times where they don’t have one on them. That’s where your business card comes in handy.
Tip #2: Try to attend as many receptions as possible!
Receptions are designed for networking opportunities. This is your chance to make conversation with people there so that you can make a connection. Even if the people you meet aren’t in your area of interest, they may have a connection that they could introduce you to in the future! Also, as an Aggie always be on the lookout for an Aggie ring, these are the easiest connections to make.
Tip #3: Always follow up after you get a business card.
So, after attending a reception, you end up with a few different business cards. Make sure not to wait too long to follow up with an email. You want to make sure they still remember you and if the event was crowded, you’ll be able to get good one on one time with them over coffee. Also, it’s good to have questions planned for them, but simply hearing how they got to where they are can be very beneficial.
Tip #4: Everyone has been in your shoes, they are all willing to help you.
I’ve learned that regardless of a person’s position, they’ve all been in your shoes before. They’ve all had to start out somewhere to get to where they are. Don’t be afraid to ask for coffee or advice because you think they are too busy to make time for an intern. In my experience, almost everyone I’ve met in D.C. has been very enthusiastic about helping interns, chiefs of staff especially.
You’ll learn more about networking throughout your internship, just make sure to be confident and put yourself out there! This internship is an exciting learning experience regardless if you decide to stay or not.