By now, you’ve probably heard about the importance of networking. In fact, many of you may have been taught that it is an essential step in the journey of landing a job.
Why is that? Well, building connections can help further your career, and it can open new opportunities for you. Plus, you’ll meet some awesome professionals that you can exchange information and build a relationship with.
So, how do you build your network? It’s simple. One great way you can start making connections is by attending a networking event. At first, networking can be intimidating, but if you are prepared, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Remember these few tips when preparing to attend an event:
- Business Cards
- Elevator Pitch
- Professional Attire
- Take Notes
If possible, look at the RSVP list to see who will be attending the event you are going to. After you see the list, you can search everyone through LinkedIn. If they work for a company that you are interested in, you may want to reach out to them prior to the event. By contacting them in advance, you can introduce yourself and tell them that you would like to speak to them in person at the upcoming event to learn more about their company. Or, if you don’t feel comfortable with reaching out before, you can always approach them at the event and start a conversation with them.
When you do your research beforehand, you are making yourself more aware of the different companies that will be represented at the event. This is a great opportunity to get to know more about the places you are interested in working at as well as the people who work there.
However, don’t limit yourself by only focusing on a few companies. Even if you don’t recognize some of the companies that someone works for, research them! You may find out that it would be a good fit for you.
Get those business cards out and ready! Business cards can be fairly easy to make, and it is an excellent way of helping people remember who you are. When you meet people at the event, be sure to ask for a business card and give them one in return. You’ll get the chance to meet a lot of professionals, and you may have a hard time remembering everyone’s names. However, if you get a business card, you will not only have a better chance at remembering their name but also, you can follow up with them after the event by using the information stated on their card.
In fact, after the event, I would highly recommend doing a LinkedIn search on every person you met and invite them to connect with you. By doing this, you can easily contact them in the future and follow up via LinkedIn.
Send a personalized message to each person you met and thank them for sharing their knowledge with you at the event. If you want, you can even invite them for coffee to learn more about them as well as the company they work for.
Tip: quickly jot down information on the back of the business cards that you receive to remind you of your conversation with that person. This will make it easier for you to remember who they are when you reach out to them later. Plus, this will help you make your message to them more personal, and it will show the other person that you were genuinely listening and interested in what they were saying.
As most of you know, your pitch should be short, sweet, and to the point. In your pitch, you can discuss topics such as your educational background, work experience, and skills. There are a lot of different kinds of pitches that you can use at your next networking event. Once you pick a type of pitch, go ahead and write it out then edit it. After you finish your final draft, be sure to practice it until you can recite it in your sleep.
Check out this video about making an elevator pitch:
When attending a networking event, be sure you dress to impress. Depending on the event, everyone may be wearing business professional, business casual, or they may even be dressed more casual than that.
However, if your intentions at the event are to make connections in order to get a job, I recommend dressing well despite what everyone else may be wearing. Not only will this will help you make a good first impression by looking professional, but you will also feel more confident.
Your appearance can easily reflect the way that you feel and it will influence you to act self-assured. Plus, if you look and feel good, then it will be a lot easier for you to approach professionals at a networking event.
At some events, there may be a speaker. My advice is to pay attention, actively listen, and take notes. By doing this, you will be able to retain the information, and you will look like you genuinely want to learn about the topic that is being presented. Plus, you will learn something that could help you in your future career. So, make sure that you save your notes for future reference.
After the speaker finishes their message, go up and speak to them afterward. Thank them for taking the time to come and share their knowledge. Once you finish your conversation with the speaker, ask for a business card and follow up.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to network with outstanding professionals!