Written by Jenny Blake

Networking. I know, I know. The word itself makes you shudder. Me too.

My blogs are the most public thing about me; I’m a closet introvert, preferring to spend vast amounts of time alone. I live alone, I work from home, and to recharge there is nothing I love more than reading in the morning, and doing handstands in the park in the afternoon. Alone!

That said, I enjoy great conversation as much as anyone and try to schedule a handful of coffees, lunches and dinners each week, along with group fitness classes like yoga and pilates. But overall, engaging with others usually initiates my 1:4 recovery ratio—for every one hour I spend connecting, I like to give three or four back to myself with privacy and quiet.

Why am I telling you this? Because in spite of my reclusive ways, I love people! I really do.

I love working with coaching clients one-on-one, I love the private Momentum community, and I love teaching and public speaking. Building high-quality, authentic relationships are the foundation of my business, and the reason I am now celebrating over four years as a solopreneur.

Today’s post kicks off a three-part series on the systems and strategies I use to stay sane when building relationships.

Whether you’re introverted, busy, or introverted and busy, this series will teach you how to build friendships that benefit you and others, without being sleazy, cheesy, or obnoxious.

A Note on Mindset

“Networking” title aside, the purpose of all this is really about making new friends, specifically of the professional variety. I don’t network with people I wouldn’t want to hang out with in real life.

My key philosophies on relationship-building are generosity, and quality over quantity.

I can’t stand being on the receiving end of someone’s “spray and pray” campaign, where I can see that I am just one target in a vast strategic effort for them to get somewhere or get something.

So don’t do that either! The year is now half over; now is a great time to spend a little time reflecting on who you want to meet and connect with over the next four months, and how.

People-Related Goals and Preferences

Identify your preferred approach to building relationships for where you are at this point in your life and career by answering the following questions:

  • Who: What types of people do you want to connect with? Anyone specific in mind? Brainstorm a few exciting options for each of the following categories:
    • Friends (local, global)
    • Business/Career (local, global)
    • Groups (professional, recreational, fitness)
  • What: What are your goals? What can you give? What are you hoping to receive? (Support, advice, friendship, etc.)
  • Where: Do you prefer to meet in person, over the phone, or connect through social media?
  • When: What time of day and what types of events do you most enjoy talking with others?
  • How Often: What is your natural, enjoyable limit within a given week of meeting/connecting with new people? Socializing with friends?
  • Recharge: What helps you decompress after social interactions?

Networking is never about how many people you can reach, but about being smart and strategic with your time and energy.

Upcoming Webinar: Connect with Influencers

I’m excited to be co-hosting a live webinar with John Corcoran on How to Cold Email Any VIP on August 26 at 3pm ET.

John will cover the 5 things you must do if you want your emails to be read and responded to by VIPs you admire, how to go from getting your email opened to building a genuine relationship, and how to go from relationship-building to generating income. John will also share 5 of his best email templates you can use to connect with the VIPs you want to meet.

Sign-up and download the free workbook here!

Stay tuned for Part Two, where I’ll share how to create routines around reaching out to others.

This article was sponsored by University of Phoenix.  I’m a compensated contributor, but all thoughts and ideas are my own.

About Jenny

Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career StrategistJenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book The Pivot Method. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business. Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 8th year!) and at, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

Written by Marisol Dahl

Three months ago today, I graduated college. And as summer is winding down and that back to school season kicks in, it’s really hitting that I won’t be returning to the wonderful comforts of college dorm rooms, courtyards full of students, and 24-hour libraries.

There are a lot of changes that come with finishing school. We enter the world of full employment, glaring finances, and finally learning how to make dinner ourselves (goodbye dining halls!). We have to make big decisions about whether to go to graduate school and where to live. It’s a new and exciting stage in our lives.

To celebrate this new season and start off on the right foot, I’m making some resolutions.

3 Resolutions for Life After College

1. Take it one step at a time, and listen to your intuition.

I had one great job offer back in March. On paper it was perfect, and I was ready to pack my bags. But something in my gut was saying, this isn’t it. I hated saying no to the company, because it was rationally reckless! I didn’t have any other offers, and I wasn’t sure I would get as great a job package anywhere else. But something in me didn’t jibe with this path.

I turned down the offer, and ended up graduating without a traditional full-time job and not nearly enough freelance work to go “full time.” While my fellow unemployed peers panicked as they picked up their diplomas and packed their bags, I felt calm. I didn’t know where I would be next week or next month, but I trusted that everything will work out. And while it’s only been three months and things are far from completely “worked out” (are they ever?), I’m amazed at how slowly but surely the pieces come together.

Here’s the thing: for most of us college graduates out there, this is the first time in twenty-something years in which our future is completely, utterly open. There are fewer things than ever that are truly compulsory. We have this beautiful blank page.

But despite achieving this new level of freedom, we hardly take the time to wonder at it all. We feel that we have to take the job offer, because who knows when another one is coming? We have to go to grad school, because how else are we going to keep up in this world? And gosh, what about those student loans?

These pressures are all too real, but I’m making a point to slow down with my decision making. There are many great opportunities ahead, and while it’s tempting to pick a path and stick to it, we’re better off taking it one step at a time and listening to your gut.

A big thanks to Jenny for inspiring this shift in the way I think, especially her pieces on going with the flow and practicing intuition. :)

2. Keep learning.

College taught me many things. I learned why some social movements succeed and others fail. I learned the difference between an opportunity cost and a sunk cost. I learned how to do laundry without having to separate whites and colors.

But one of the most important things I learned is the absolute joy in engaging with new ideas. There is a true satisfaction in having the difficult conversations, questioning your long-held beliefs, diving into a book on a subject you know absolutely nothing about. These are the moments that exercise your mind and challenge your identity the most. This is how you become a better person and achieve greater work.

I don’t want that to end. I don’t want to get into a rut, involved only in my own little world. And so, I will keep learning.

3. Take chances. Meet new people. Make life interesting.

I’m not quite sure how to articulate this particular one, but it’s the most important to me. In essence, it is Jenny’s “live big” philosophy (ahem, check out the mission statement of Life After College).

This is a resolution to take the wheel and step on the gas. I am a firm believer that you are responsible for your own happiness, well-being, and excitement in your life. If life is feeling a little too comfortable or mediocre, you hold the answers to shaking it up again.

So this resolution will manifest in many different ways. It’s the intersection of intuition and adventure—take the time to listen to your cravings, your wildest dreams, your sudden and exciting impulses. Then go for it.

Living up to this resolution won’t look the same day to day, person to person. For me, right here right now, it looks like: picking up the guitar (again), starting a conversation with a stranger, and cold emailing someone I admire.

Upcoming Webinar: Connect with Influencers

Life After College is so excited to be co-hosting a live webinar with John Corcoran on How to Cold Email Any VIP on August 26 at 3pm ET.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The 5 things you must do if you want your emails to be read and responded to by VIPs you admire
  • How to go from getting your email opened to building a genuine relationship
  • How to go from relationship-building to generating income
  • [Bonus] John will also share 5 of his best email templates you can use to connect with the VIPs you want to meet.

Sign-up and download the free workbook here!  See you then! :)

I’d love to hear from you in the comments: 

If you could connect with any influencer you admire, who would it be?
What is keeping you from reaching out to them right now?

About Marisol Dahl

Marisol recently graduate Yale as a Sociology and Education Studies major. A longtime New Yorker, her interests include business, communications, and marketing. Marisol started her blog in 2011 as a way to document her college years and beyond. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @marisoldahl.

Don’t Be Scared to Leave the Tour Boat

By Davis Nguyen The boat would depart in 20 minutes and we were on the opposite side of the island separated by a mountain and a torrential rain storm. We knew we couldn’t make it in time and if even if we made the trek back to the other side of the island, the rain […]

Click here to read the full post →

5 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Twenties

Written by Paul Angone There are so many well-hidden suckholes that can stop all momentum, growth, and success in your twenties. And you can fall into one of these pitfalls without even realizing it, and then stay stuck well into your 30s, 40s, 50s…you get where I’m going… Now that I’ve successfully freaked us all out, […]

Click here to read the full post →

What Scares Me About Life After College

Written By Davis Nguyen Last week, life after college officially began for me and frankly, I am scared. Even with a degree from one of the world’s best universities, I am scared of what awaits me outside the walls of the classrooms I’ve so grown so accustomed to seeing every day for the last 17 years. When […]

Click here to read the full post →

How to Mindshare Your Way to a Better Life

Written by Marisol Dahl Imagine having all the world’s experts at your fingertips. You’d not only have a wealth of information—you could use that information to make better, faster, easier decisions. Now, I’m not talking about the Google search engine or even Wikipedia. Google can’t tell you which car to buy to meet the individual needs of […]

Click here to read the full post →