|Make the most of networking opportunities!|
He plants himself by the roast beef buffet and rarely roams beyond the horseradish sauce to avoid talking with strangers.
Networking at events can be scary, but it is essential! Studies show networking is THE best way to learn about and land positions.
Follow these networking tips ... they can help you land a job or get a better one!
1) Pick worthy events that include ...
- People who can help you (as well as people who you can help).
- People who can influence hiring decision makers.
- Hiring decision makers.
2) Have a purpose. For example, your purpose could be to meet three hiring managers. But regardless of your intended purpose, be pleasant and engaging to all. You never know from where or from whom your next job will come.
3) Seek to learn who is attending in advance.
- Research target people who you expect to attend (on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, their company web site, etc.)
- Make a list of the specific people who you want to meet at an event. Jot down their titles, companies, etc. Bring the list with you (discreetly) to help you make the most of your mingling.
- Look for an electronically posted list of event attendees or ask the event coordinator for a list.
- Search for people talking about attending on Twitter. Many event promoters use a hash tag (pound sign) as in "JobLinkUpEvent#" so you can follow tweets specifically about that particular event).
- Watch for when people mention they plan to attend events on a LinkedIn group discussion or in their LinkedIn network updates.
5) Dress appropriately and be prepared.
- Wear comfortable shoes so you can stand without pain.
- Women should carry a light purse or none at all.
- Bring business cards, notepad and pen or carry a mobile device to capture contact information.
- Print your name large and clear on your name tag. Place it on your upper left chest so it is not blocked when you shake hands.
- Be friendly to the event host, speaker and registration workers.
- Stride confidently into room toward a congested area.
- Introduce yourself to a person by saying your name and field.
- Repeat other people’s names until you can say it correctly. This will help you remember their name.
- Make eye contact with those you engage in conversation.
- Have a mutual connection introduce you to target people when possible.
- Be a "wing man" to a friend and vice versa so that you can bring each other into group conversations.
- Be memorable by being interested! Ask questions, listen well, respond in a way that shows you are 100 percent engaged in what they have to say.
- Establish common interests or recall experiences where you crossed paths.
- Honestly compliment others or talk (positively) about the event.
- Be friendly and welcome loners into conversations. Remember that you are not the only person who is uncomfortable at the event.
- Wait before interrupting a conversation.
- Remember names and introduce people to each other.
- Have a business card available, but don’t blanket the room with them.
- Ask for business cards. Write notes on back to jog your memory about the person and to ensure you send them promised information.
8) Let's eat!
- If a meal is served, sit at a target person’s table within comfortable talking distance.
- Introduce yourself to the table. Prepare a brief statement that includes your name, field and why you are glad to meet them.
- Don’t overeat or drink.
- Be aware and make adjustments if you are talking too much or too loudly.
- Make the rounds at the end of the event to reconfirm commitments.
- Email people within 24 hours to fulfill commitments or ask for their help.
- Strengthen new relationships by asking people to coffee or lunch. Download my Informational Interview Success Sheet for step-by-step guidelines to make the most of these meetings.
10) Offer to help and then do it! When you focus on how to help rather than focusing on your own discomfort, you will not only become a better networker, but a better person who others will seek out, befriend and recommend.
- Tell people about job titles that you seek.
- Help the event planners if they seem overwhelmed.
- Provide sales reps and small business people with business leads.
- Send people helpful articles based on your conversation with them.
- Make mutually beneficial introductions and introduce people to influential people who can help them.
- Speak highly of people to build their confidence and recommend them later for positions ... they will remember you fondly forever.
What other tips could help job seekers network well? Share them via the Contact tab. -- Thanks, Kathy
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