NETWORKING TIP #1 - Expand your network from all directions! Don’t underestimate the value of meeting new people as it only takes ONE person to connect you to your dream job. Whether it be at a career fair, students event or even a dinner party with friends, there are opportunities waiting for you to take them!
NETWORKING TIP #2 – Get personal. If you’re only talking business with a networking contact, it makes it hard to develop a long lasting connection. Suss out their interests and passion projects to get them talking about the things they love. Reveal your own goals and passions. It only takes ONE spark in a conversation for a potential employer to see you as more than a networking junkie and hire you. Let your true colours shine and the work will follow.
NETWORKING TIP #3 – If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Planning ahead is crucial in getting the most out of networking events. Research the speakers and their career backgrounds. Find out who are the attendees and if they have similar business interests to you. Make sure your LinkedIn and other social media profiles portray a drive for professional success. Putting in the effort now will save you the stress later when you are at the event. With everything prepared, you can focus solely on putting your best self forward in front of everyone.
NETWORKING TIP #4 – PERFECT THE EXIT.
You may be talking up a storm with someone at a networking event but you aren’t going to get anywhere else without a thunderous exit. Thank them for the nice conversation and ask to catch up with them another time. Request their business card and whether you can connect with them on LinkedIn. Write down what you talked about on the back of the card for future reference.
To seal the deal, suggest discussing further over coffee, lunch or a business meeting. If you don’t make it clear in the moment that you intend to network with them, it will make it harder to ask for these things later when you aren’t face-to-face. Nail the exit and future doors will swing wide open.
NETWORKING TIP #5: TAKE THE LEAD
You’re back home after a long day of networking - what now? Follow up with an email within 24 - 48 hours before they forget who you are.
Remind them who you are and explain why you are contacting them. Tell them you enjoyed your previous conversation with them and want to follow on from there. Provide them with a piece of information or article that would be useful to them. You need to showcase your worth to them to get a response.
Don’t wait for the slim chance that they will contact you first– if you want it, you have to go get it yourself. Don’t look back and second-guess yourself – take the first leap forward and seize every opportunity within your reach.
Put your best step forward with a smile!
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