Throughout college all a student hears is “network, network, network.” Yes, networking is important as a student and even more important as an upcoming or recent graduate looking to find employment in a particular career field. Networking events are great places to make connections with potential employers; however, how do you know if you are making the most out of your networking events?
“As a career services department we understand that networking events can be incredibly intimidating for some people who aren’t naturally outgoing or are unfamiliar with networking events,” said Teresa Obinger, Globe University-Woodbury director of career services. “However, networking is very important because it does play a major role in gaining employment in your chosen career field.”
Networking is considered the most effective way of finding a job—particularly in challenging economic times. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking.
Therefore, the career services department created a list of a few tips and advice to not only help you overcome the fear of these events, but also help you get the most out of them to benefit your job search.
Before the Event:
- Be prepared: Prepare for the event by gathering resources you may need so that you’re not empty-handed at the event (i.e. business cards, pens, notepad). Also, you could research some current trends or news in the industry to discuss in case the conversation runs low. Preparing as much as possible before the event will make you that much more comfortable upon arriving and can calm your nerves.
- Be on time: If you are unfamiliar with the area where the event is hosted be sure to research the directions and give yourself an ample amount of time for parking or if you get lost.
- Dress appropriately: Research the dress code for the event. Some events are business formal whereas many events are simply business casual.
At the Event:
- Make a goal for yourself: It’s not a popularity contest. You don’t need to talk to every person there. Try to get yourself to talk to at least 5-10 people, which will help create more meaningful conversations rather than quick introductions.
- Make an impact with your introduction: When you introduce yourself be sure to shake their hand and repeat their name so that you remember it. Look people in the eye, smile and briefly explain your background, also known as an elevator speech or 30-second commercial of yourself (taught in the Career Capstone class).
- Listen carefully: Try to ask questions and listen attentively to answers rather than glancing around the room and remember to listen more than you talk.
- Exchange information: If they have not given their card don’t be afraid to ask for it in exchange for yours.
After the Event:
- Follow Up: Following up is essential to ensure you are making the most out of your networking event. Be sure to follow up via email or phone with your connections within a day of the event. If you feel a connection you made may lead to a potential job, don’t be afraid to invite them out to lunch or coffee to continue the conversation made at the event.
- Stay in touch: Relationships are built over time—not in one interaction. Be sure to stay in touch.
The career services department has many more tips and advice on networking, resumes, cover letters, finding jobs and much more. Contact one of us today!
Globe University-Woodbury Career Services Department: