Networking is key to learning more about your career options.
Think of three opportunities to network with professionals in your career field (i.e. professional organizations, student clubs, volunteer groups, alumni events, classes, University programs, online, etc.).
Now, use the tips below to make the most of visiting with others.
- What is your objective?
- Get a list of specific people who will be there. Decide who you want to meet.
- Plan your “sound bite,” a 10-second introduction to start a conversation.
- Be knowledgeable about what is going on in the world and ready to engage in conversations.
- Plan your outfit with comfort, style and professionalism in mind. Make sure you have pockets for business cards!
During the event
- Arrive early and introduce yourself to the organizers. Share your objective.
- Wear a nametag on the right shoulder where one’s eye most naturally travels during a handshake. Write legibly and big enough for someone to read.
- Remember names by repeating them often!
- Open versus closed body language is important. No crossed arms. Smile. Make eye contact.
- Be ready to pick up a conversation. Questions such as, “Have you been to this event before?” are always safe. Avoid politics, religion and very personal topics. Observe others for tips as to what to discuss.
- Listen. You can think around 800 words per minute, but only talk around 150.
- Share your objective with everyone. Assume that everyone might be able to help you.
- Treat business cards with respect. Only ask for a card if you really want one. Write notes on the card to help you remember important discussion points.
After the event
- Follow-up. Always say thank you! Do what you promise to do.
- Stay connected to your contacts through LinkedIn.
- Look for items of interest to your contacts. Share!
- Keep those who have helped you informed of your progress.
- Reciprocate the kindness you have received.
- If you make a great connection, ask for an informational interview.