How to Make Professional Friends

UB alumus is talking with a group of student at the career conversations.

80% of jobs or internships are found by making connections with professionals and alumni. The more professional friends you have in your network, the better your chances of finding the right opportunity.

Getting Connected Is Easier Than You Think

Often, hearing the words “connections” and “networking” can easily make your heart beat faster and your palms start to sweat. 😰 😱 

It’s Okay. Take a DEEP breath.

Think of “connections” or people in your “professional network” to be more like friends. Friends tend to help friends when they are in need. 

What Types of Professional Friends Are There?

The more professional friends you make, the wider your network becomes which can lead to more jobs, internships and opportunities.

  1. An Adviser - someone who has done what you want to do.
  2. An Advice Giver - someone that is in a different field than you.
  3. A Connector - someone who knows people who have done it before.
  4. An Expert - someone who you trust who will give you honest feedback.
  5. A Backup - someone who you might need in the future.
  6. An Alum - someone who was a former student at the University at Buffalo.
Tips for Meeting People

• Don't forget to introduce yourself and remember to thank them for their time.
• When wearing a name tag at a networking event, place it on your right side, so that when somebody shakes your hand, it's easier to read your name.

Ways to Make Professional Friends

Meet Alumni Meet Employers Informational Interviews

An informational interview sounds more complex and scarier than it really is. It's just a conversation with someone, like a professional or alum, about their career story as well as insider tips about a job/internship, industry or company. Everyone has a story to tell so just ask about it.

Hint: Just like you, when they started out, someone probably helped them along the way.

Tips for Starting a Conversation

  • Introduce yourself, be friendly, smile and most of all, be you.
  • Come prepared with potential topics and questions to ask.
  • Thank them for their time.
  • Ask to see if you can continue your conversation later on the UB Career Connector Network and/or connect with them on LinkedIn.

Questions you could ask

Tips for after your informational interview

• Send an email or hand written thank you note after the interview to thank them.
• Be sure to let them know how things worked out and how their advice made a difference.  

Learn New Career Skills at Upcoming Skillshops

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