You've found the perfect event to get out there and begin networking for a career. This can be an overwhelming feeling, breath, because you made it through the toughest part. You're reached the right spot to begin gathering knowledge on career networking. Procrastinating may have carried us through our undergrad degree, but the best prep for any event is done in advance. Secure your spot by registering in advance if the event requires. Would not want to travel on a series of buses for three hours and not get in, right? Even worse, walking into the event and giving a blank smile to who could potentially be your next ally. This leads to point number two, research, research, research. Knowledge is power and the more you know of the folks you are with and career cultural norms, the more you will have to talk about! Let's make sure all this hard work does not go to waste and document all these great ideas. Using a small notepad, jot down the names of key people you would like to meet, some questions you may ask and some conversation topic buzzwords to get you through the painful small talk. Being prepared may mean notepad and paper copy resumes to some and to others it may mean a clean, sophisticated business card with your contact information and personal portfolio . Now that you have the power it's time to work on the performance.
Remember how we are not going to procrastinate anymore? Perfect. This means we will be on time and we will arrive early, yay us! Before mingling amongst your future connections, make sure to stop by and grab an event program and floor plan if available. Even if you aren't the one for strategizing every detail, an event planner is an excellent distraction read for all your awkward moments. And that's the thing, this will be a bit of an awkward practice at first. Don't sweat, and be patient, this is a new skill you are working on and all skill development takes time. With a deep breathe you are ready to open your first network. It will be a little messy at first and after some exposure you will begin to develop a rhythm and a know for which questions are appropriate to ask. Start with introducing yourself and asking your new connection about their work and/or company. This will get the conversation to naturally progress towards the opportunities available. Wrap things up considerably, offer a salutation and ask for a business card. Each of you should leave feeling more connected and knowledgeable on what you have to offer each other.
Etiquette is another extremely important topic for networking. We need to understand how our verbal and non-verbal communication is perceived by others in order to portray the right image or intended image. Good body language, a confident & energetic voice, reading a persons business card before pocketing it, and having non-business discussions can be excellent ways to improve one's networking skills. On the other hand, dressing inappropriately can have adverse effects on your networking efforts. As intermediate fashionistas, we advise to avoid wearing a belt and suspenders, socks that contrast your suit and overpowering scents. We understand it is difficult to refrain from full diva but do try and avoid overwhelming jewelry, elaborate hairstyles, low cut tops, and etc. With these tips in mind, you are ready to let your nexus unfurl.
For more information on Networking stop by in Market Hall and talk to one of our Career Assistants!