It's more about who you know than what you know.
While that's not entirely true—having the appropriate skills for an HR position is critical—networking can open doors to career growth now and in the future. Reaching out to people you don't know can be intimidating, but 85 percent of openings are filled through networking.
Whether you love or loathe networking, try these six strategies to make the most of every conversation:
Practice active listening. Listen with curiosity and give the person your full attention. Ask open-ended questions to encourage deeper conversation, and demonstrate you're genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Give as much as you get. As a young professional, you may wonder what you have to give to a more experienced individual. Suggest a book, article, podcast or speaker you found helpful.
Meet them where they are. In-person networking remains a powerful tool for connecting. It's equally possible to create strong connections virtually. LinkedIn is the top social media platform for networking, but HR professionals may also be on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Clubhouse.
Emphasize quality over quantity. You could meet hundreds or thousands of people and never achieve your goal. Meeting the right people is more meaningful than the number of people you network with. Focus on building quality connections.
Remember the purpose. Networking does not mean seeking work. A position may come from a good networking experience, but the purpose should be building relationships.
Join the conversation. Start meeting other HR students and professionals who can share their perspectives and who can introduce you to others who may be able to help you. Joining your SHRM student chapter is a tool you can use to begin building your professional network.