Networking is one of the best ways to make new contacts and can help you land that perfect job. If you’re not a natural networker, or are looking to do it more effectively, here are ten top tips to follow when you attend a networking event.
- Introduce yourself
Before attending an event, it’s worth practicing your ‘opener’; just a minute or so outlining your current employment situation and where you hope to go in the future. Don’t waffle; keep it short and snappy.
- Make a plan
What do you want to gain from an event? Whatever it is, make sure you have a plan before the event starts – that way, you’ll have more time when there to concentrate on meeting the right people.
- Take business cards
Business cards remain one of the best ways to build your professional network. Always take more cards than you think you’ll need and keep them with you throughout the event.
- Give something back
Networking is not just about getting what you want. It’s also about others getting what they want too; if you have contacts they need, share them. By giving them something, they are more likely to remember you in the future when opportunities arise.
- Work the room
Don’t speak to just one person at an event – you are there to make a number of contacts. When you’re ready to move on to the next person, simply exchange details and politely say goodbye. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
- Be interested
Prepare some questions in advance of any event to help get the conversation started – and listen to the answers given! Make the questions interesting and give people the chance to talk about themselves.
- Attend events regularly
The chances of you getting your ideal job are greatly improved by making the effort to attend regular networking events.
- Invest your time
Do not attend one networking event and then ask a new acquaintance for a huge favour. Instead, be willing to invest time in getting to know your new contacts better and you’ll have more chance of building a trusting working relationship.
- Don’t limit your networks
Venture outside of your sector when networking, as connecting to more diverse groups of people will considerably improve your chances of making worthwhile contacts for future positions.
- Follow up
After the event, make sure to send follow-up emails to anyone you’d like to network with more. Tailor each email to the person, as it will show you were listening to them at the event.
Networking can be an invaluable part of having a successful career, so make sure you’re the best you can be at it. And just think; the more you do it, the more you might start to enjoy it!
- written by Katy Ratican