Networking Tips

 

  1. Be relaxed and personableThe whole point of networking is to connect with industry professionals in a semi-relaxed setting. Unfortunately, networking events often feel nowhere near relaxed. But if you can, fake it till you make it. Appearing nervous around the individuals who are potentially hiring could result in the industry professionals being nervous too, and that just makes for some awkward conversations. If you're able to,  just act relaxed and calm, the professional you're talking to will feel more comfortable too, which makes for much better conversation and connection.     

  2. You don’t have to talk about work

The professionals that go to networking nights come in expecting to repeat their work spiel over and over again, so if you ask about something other than work, it’ll make you stand out. Instead of asking about their work lives, ask them about their lives before work. People love to tell their stories, so ask them about how they got to where they are. It’ll be refreshing for them, and it’ll give you some insight as to how real people make it to good jobs because very few people follow a straight career path.  

  1. Help them get to know your personalityAt networking events, you don’t need to dump all of your achievements onto the person you’re connecting with. That’s what a resume’s for. The best thing to do when networking is to show the professional you’re connecting with who you are and what it would be like to work with you.   

  2. Pick your timing carefullyYou want to make sure you talk to this person, but you don’t want to force yourself in right after another conversation. You also don’t want to stay too long, because it could become awkward.

  3. Exchange information and plan to meet again

Yes, it’s important to give this person your resume/card, but it’s also important to get theirs. An equal trade of contact information makes you seem more confident and legitimate. And if you are interested in staying in contact with this person, make a date then and there. But don’t set up another meeting with just anyone. You don’t want to set up a meeting for a superficial connection. If you think this person could be a real mentor, go for it.