Tips For Effective Networking
After a career fair, you are hoping to have impressed the employers enough to hear a follow up. Networking can be nerve-wracking, especially when you are trying to use your connections to get a job. Here are some tips to eliminate your stress and make networking easier for you.
Always Be Prepared to Network
Everywhere you go, whether it is in the classroom or at a career fair, it is important to be prepared to share things and tell people about yourself. Even if you meet a new family friend at Easter dinner, ask them what they do. That is an easy start to networking and it doesn’t always have to be a scripted elevator pitch; it can be natural. Start off the conversation with small talk then move into what you want to know more about and just be you while sharing your interests with that person.
Networking Should Be Connection Based
After conversing with someone you want to get to know more, evaluate how the conversation went. If you felt like that person was just trying to slip you a business card, or wanted to talk to you just to gloat about themselves, it may not be in your best interest to try to use that person as a resource in the future. You want to network with others who truly want to grow a relationship beyond the introductory interaction. This person should be someone you feel comfortable asking questions, talking to again, or even shadowing at their job.
Sometimes it is best to talk to people who may have worked with a company you are considering, or to reach out to a professor of a topic that interests you. If you are at a club meeting, don’t be afraid to reach out to the upperclassmen and alumni who may be able to give you advice to be successful in the field. Professors are great resources; they should be not just an educator but also someone you can talk to and ask for help.
Always Follow Up After A Great Conversation
If you felt there was a connection and the person you were trying to network with really listened to you and was genuine, ask them for their contact information, and maybe an informational interview if you would like to continue the conversation.