Networking is probably one of the most important skills for any young professional (and student!) to have. It can open doors for you, give you your first job, or even connect you with your dream boss!
I think of networking events as a real goldmine. You never know who you’re going to meet, what you can connect on, and where it will take you. Here are some tips that can help you make the most out of networking events.
Always, always remember to carry business cards and resumes (especially if you’re looking for a job). Sometimes, when you meet someone you really want to connect with, chances are they’ve met so many people that day that they may not remember your name. At the end of the conversation, give them your card, take theirs, and shoot them an email soon thereafter mentioning something that you spoke about to jog their memory.
Dress to impress! First impressions are so important and you want to be able to stand out in the minds of the people you meet. A pristine, well put together, and comfortable outfit (this isn’t the time to break into those new heels you bought yesterday) goes a long, long way. You’ll feel confident and it will show!
Work the room. Don’t be afraid to break out of one small group and go to another. If you know the people that are coming beforehand, even better. Make a hit list and cover it.
Help other people connect. If you hear someone talking about hiring a buying intern for X brand and you know your friend or classmate who is across the room wants to work with them, get them over there and introduce them. Good karma never hurt anyone!
Don’t be afraid to make small talk. It doesn’t always have to be business talk to impress an employer. You could talk about anything — food, the weather or a common interest. Having an easy conversation that leads into shop talk is one of the ways to create a nice vibe before you get down to the details.
Don’t let anything stop you from going up and talking to the CEO or president of your dream company. They came here to meet people like you and want to talk!
Smile! This may seem like a really pointless thing to say, but if you’re nervous and not feeling too confident, it’s okay! These events can be intimidating, especially with some of the people you get to meet. Looking uneasy will give people the impression that you don’t want to talk. Put on a smile and you’ll be surprised with how far that will take you!