The most important piece of networking: Your Self-Introduction
Being able to succinctly describe your interests, goals, and skills is crucial in any networking situation. How can someone provide you with relevant advice or a useful contact if you don’t clearly articulate what you are looking for?
To create a dynamic self-introduction:
Consider what your goals are. What do you want to learn more about through networking? This might be a specific job (e.g., government speech writing), industry (e.g., career options in hospitality), or how to apply a skill set (e.g., foreign language skills).
Determine and describe the most relevant pieces of information about yourself. Examples include a recent externship or job in the field; why a course or newspaper article sparked your interest; transferrable skills developed through a student club.
Combine these into a 2-3 sentence introduction about yourself.
This is often called an “elevator speech”, because you should imagine that you are stuck in an elevator with someone and you need to tell them about you before they get off. Think about how you can use this short period of time to not only introduce yourself but also convey something about who you are and what you do.
“Hi, I’m Samantha Peters, a current sophomore at Cornell University. I am interested in health and would like to learn more about careers in public health. I would love to talk with you about your career path. Is there a time in the next few weeks when you would available to talk on the phone.”
“I’m interested in marketing and PR. Last summer I did some PR work for a small nonprofit. I also have experience in these areas through my involvement in student and community organizations. Next year, I hope to obtain a position with a mid to large-sized marketing/PR firm.”