How to network at a career event
Most of us are not born networkers. This is nothing to be ashamed of and luckily networking is a skill that can be taught quite easily. After all, networking is an essential skill in business life and will help you, for example, land a lead job or will connect you to the right person in your dream company. Therefore, we have set up a list of tips to help you make the most out of networking events!
Set yourself a goal
Before attending a networking event, ask yourself the question: what kind of connections would I like to make? This will help you stay focused, and will prevent you from getting lost in the crowd. Of course, you can divert from your original goal and talk to other interesting people at the event. However, setting yourself a goal can help you feel more at ease if you talk to other attendees, who could possible become your future colleagues.
Do your research
Try to find out in advance who is attending the event to see who you'd like to network with. Also, do some research into their position and organisation, this will emphasize your interest and convey professionalism.
Practice an elevator pitch
Prepare and practice a small introduction that will clearly indicate your experience and interests. This should help you to easily introduce and position yourself. The recruiters and company representatives aim to meet and learn more about the skills of students like you attending these events. Therefore, if you have put time into preparing an introduction, this will show them that you are serious! Make sure to provide them with the information they need and this will surely make you stand out.
Prepare some useful and unique questions
Try thinking of some interesting and unique questions to ask recruiters. Preparing and asking good questions will not only be useful to you, it will also make you stand out. Recruiters will be impressed by unique questions and will certainly be pleased to answer them. Also, thinking of some comments on the event’s topics or relevant news of the day will be useful during your networking. This will help in starting conversations and make you come across as interested not only in the job, but also in the industry.
Dress to impress
When talking about impressing recruiters, don’t forget to also dress to impress! More about this topic can be find in the following other articles on the platform ‘How to Wear and Select a Suit’ for our male audience and ‘How to Dress Professionally as a Woman’ for the ladies. You seem even more prepared and ready for this event when you wear the appropriate professional attire.
During the Event
Walk in prepared
Check out the registration table to review the list of registrants and name badges. This way, you can check if the people you're interested in talking to have already arrived.
Approach contacts with a smile
Approach contacts at the event with a smile and a small introduction about yourself. Be the first to extend your hand when meeting someone, it will show eagerness to speak to that person. Remember to always think of etiquettes. Close your conversation with a handshake and a wrap-up statement that indicates you appreciated the opportunity to talk.
Exchange contact information
We like to emphasize the importance of suggesting to follow-up on your conversation and exchanging contact information as appropriate. When business cards are exchanged, write a note on the back to remind you of the highlight of the conversation. Or, immediately after the event, write down your impressions of each employer. You’ll use this information to follow-up on the conversation. More about this can be found in the next section.
Write down what you think went well and what could be improved. This will be a great learning experience and preparation for the next networking day or event!
Consider writing a ‘thank you’ letter to each company, using that opportunity to tell them why you’re qualified for the position and listing some specific points that you discussed with your contact person. What you can also do is connect with your contacts on LinkedIn. You can subsequently send an email or LinkedIn message. If you had an engaging conversation you can suggest meeting in person for a follow-up talk. This will ensure that you stay connected.
With these tips and tricks, you will certainly be noticed by recruiters. Practice makes perfect, so get out there and start networking!