Most people get jobs through networking.
Most job seekers spend the majority of their time scouring online postings and blasting their resume to job boards. Ask any hiring manager or recruiter where they find most of their candidates, and most likely they will say through a referral or a recommendation.
Since networking is the key to getting your dream job, you need to make sure you know the rules of the game for networking events.
It may seem a bit intimidating to go to an event with a number of alumni you may have never met. But everyone in that room is there because they want to network and talk with people just like you. In particular alumni are interested in your future success and want to be of assistance.
Here are a few, quick tips to ensure you have a successful networking event:
- Do your prep work and know what type of people will be in attendance.
- Read the news so you can be up-to-speed on current events and potential
- Make note of who the event organizers are so you can thank them at the event. (Usually they are the most connected people in the room).
- Dress the part. Make note of the venue and expected attire.
- Think of about five conversation starters or opening lines. It doesn’t have to be deep – weather, sports, local news, reasons for being there, etc.
- Arrive on time. You can meet the organizers and work a smaller crowd.
- Focus on the people, not the food. It’s difficult to shake hands and continue conversations when your hands and mouth are always full.
- Be assertive. “Hello, my name is…” Introduce yourself and start conversations.
- Try not to talk with the same people the entire time.
- To keep the conversation going, focus on things you both know about the networking event, or the organization hosting the program.
- Listen and ask questions. Remember, it’s not all about you.
- Hand out your resume to those you shared a conversation with, if they ask; but don’t distribute like flyers.
- Request a business card from those with whom you would like to follow up.
- Jot down notes to keep track of everyone you meet.
- Follow up! After the event, get connected on LinkedIn, and send a personal email to request a meeting to continue conversations.
Remember, you simply are meeting people, making connections, and creating relationships. A quality network is a crucial part of your job search.