“You’re invited: networking event with Fancy Shmansy Company!”
Great. Do I have to go? What am I supposed to say or do at these events? …ugh. I’d rather just stay home and avoid the awkwardness.
These were the thoughts that would run through my head every time I heard about a recruiting/networking event in college. I dreaded these events but soon came to realize they were extremely important. If you have any interest in the company or industry hosting the event, you need to go.
Because it shows that you care enough to set aside some time in your day to do some research, dress up, and spend an hour or two learning about an employer. The competition is really tough out there and you need to distinguish yourself.
Connections get you jobs. And networking is a great way to make connections! Employers get tons of applications and are reluctant to interview people they’ve never met or heard about before. Try to make your name known.
Networking events will always be a little awkward…but here are some tips to help you prepare:
**Don’t be shy! You made it to the event. Don’t hide in the back as much as your mind is telling you to. Networking happens when you approach people and ask questions.
The key is to have prepared some questions that can lead to a conversation in which you can make yourself look good. For example, you could ask a question about a specific project that interests you. This way, you can show that you put in the time to do your research and you can bring up any skills or experiences that you have that relate to the project. You have the power to steer the conversation. Ask questions that allow you to learn more but that also make it apparent that you are a good fit for the company.
While selling yourself is key, ultimately, people hire people they like—so be genuine and friendly. Come prepared, be curious, and bring your confidence and smile. You’ve got this!
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