Networking can be one of the most valuable job hunting tools but also one of the most intimidating. Here, we give a step by step guide to make networking work for you.
Regardless of your location, your nearest city will be filled with a very busy calendar of networking events so focus your efforts. Choose events that will be attended by industry professionals in the area you aspire to work in. These don’t have to be paid events but if you do decide to spend money to attend a larger event such as a conference make sure it’s the right investment for you. You can find a large selection of events on sites such as Meetup and Eventbrite.
Arrive on time
It may seem silly, but make sure you arrive promptly. By being one of the first people there it endears you to the event organisers who might be willing to make some introductions for you as it is likely they will know some of the attendees.
Know what you’re looking for
Are you looking for an internship next summer or something more full time? Make sure you know what you’re looking for and what type of roles and be prepared to talk about it. A standard networking opener is who are you and what are you here for, you never know who you might be talking to.
Potential employers will be very impressed by candidates who are able to walk over, introduce themselves and ask for a role. If a speaker has your dream job ask them how they did it and whether they would offer some mentorship. Always be polite but make the most of the opportunity.
If you’re having a great time talking to someone and building a rapport, don’t be afraid to ask to connect. Even if they don’t have a role for you now they might think of something for you in the future. If you have LinkedIn great, this is an excellent way of staying in touch with people you have met at events.
If someone says they might be able to put you in touch with the right recruiter or better still might have a role for you make sure you send a follow up email, reintroducing yourself. This ensures your conversation isn’t forgotten.
Networking doesn’t guarantee an immediate job but can be a great way of building contacts, getting to know your industry and making friends. If an event doesn’t have the audience you expected then make sure you enjoy it anyway as you might find someone to go networking with at future events. Knowing a friendly face in a room filled with people can be a real confidence boost!
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