Networking is essential for success. Developing and nurturing relationships is a critical skill that supports your journey to your dream career. Nevertheless many of us become completely stressed at the idea of walking into a room full of people we don’t know. In an effort to help you be more confident and successful at your next networking event I’ve created a list of tips to follow.
Research. Research Research.
Get your hands on the list of companies and people attending the event. Knowing background information about the companies and people you are interested in will help you stand out. It will aid in your conversations with others about why you may want to work for a specific company. Be sure to make some notes for yourself and try to have some facts about the companies or people memorized before the event. You want your conversations to flow smoothly.
Choose your outfit a week in advance.
Trust me on this one; have your outfit selected at least a week before your event. You want to make sure you look your best and your clothing is appropriate for the event. If you wait until the last minute and you find your outfit just isn’t right not only will you be completely stressed you’ll have missed an importunity to really shine. Remember, your appearance speaks volumes about you and where you are headed. First impressions have enormous power. Knowing that you look good will make you feel confident, and help you project a positive attitude and polished image.
Resume and Business Cards
This is a big one. Get a business card! It is the best way to market you at a large event. Exchanging business cards with someone new allows you to keep the conversation going after the event. Make sure to include: name, year, major, college or university and the easiest ways to contact you. I also include my cell phone number, email address and my LinkedIn profile URL. If an employer or recruiter wants to reach me they have multiple ways of doing so. In addition, take copies of your resume to the event. I bring around ten depending on the size of the event. You may not need them but if someone does ask for one you’ll be prepared! Make sure your resume is up to date and matches your online profiles.
Be prepared to introduce yourself and others effectively. It is helpful to develop an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a thirty- second statement about you and what you want to do. It includes your name, major, career path and what it is that you are looking for; internship, job, connection to a specific company, etc. For example, a pitch may sound something like this; “ Hello, may name so and so. I am business marketing major at Simmons. I am in my junior year and I am looking for an internship that would allow me to utilize my strong writing skills and help me learn more about social media marking. I’d really like the opportunity to work at company a, b or c.” Having this pitch roll of your tongue not only helps you stand out but it also helps the other person engage with you. Practice your pitch with others before the event so that it flows naturally and does not sound rehearsed.
The most important thing to do after an event is follow up with the connections you made. Remember, the goal is not to meet everyone in the room but to make a few meaningful contacts. Once the conversation has been started it is your responsibility to nurture it and develop a long lasting relationship. Not everyone will turn into a long-term connection but it is always respectful to reach out and thank people for their time. You never know what the future may hold.
If the conversation did lead to an opportunity inquire about a follow up meeting. Treat your new contact to a cup of coffee or if they can’t meet with you in person schedule a phone call to find out more about them and the company. Keep in mind you want to figure out ways you can help your new contact too. Networking is a two-way street!
Have fun and let me know what happens at the next networking event you attend. Please share any networking tips you may have in the comments section below. For tips on how to shine read Margaret’s post on Are You Telling The Story You Intend?
About the Blogger
Kaitlyn DiPietro is a junior at Simmons College in Boston, MA studying Retail Management. She is highly involved in the Undergraduate Admissions office as well as in the School of Management. She has a passion for the fashion industry and also loves to help people find their inner confidence.