The Art of Networking
Learning how to network effectively is an important skill to master which can help to advance your personal and professional life. Networking is one of the most important activities that job-seekers need to master to be truly successful in a job search. Hiring managers are much more likely to talk to candidates who have been recommended by someone they know and trust.
The best strategy for networking is to build relationships and actively maintain them. Professional networking is about “giving to get” and involves:
- Sharing your knowledge and influence to help others
- Uncovering potential job opportunities
- Obtaining referrals
- Gaining conversation practice.
Professional membership organizations are great places to network for new jobs.
If you are graduating this spring and have no plans to attend campus job fairs, you are missing your best chance at landing a job. Campus recruiting events are the single most important way to launch your career. Companies know the value of these events and recruit heavily from them. It’s “one stop shopping” as they can immediately get a sense of personality and worth from a quick conversation. It’s time and money saving for them – you should take every advantage.
Be prepared to network:
- Have a current resume or CV that is up to date and can be ready to send at moment’s notice.
- Prepare and practice a 10-second “elevator speech” that succinctly describes who you are and what you are seeking.
- Do research about someone or companies you might meet at an event.
What to say after HELLO!
- Fake it! (pretend) and reality will follow
- REMEMBER a time when you felt completely confident
- Firm handshake, eye contact, watch your body language
- SMILE!! Be gracious and POSITIVE
- Be positive and no negative comments allowed!
Focus on them, not you
- Be interested vs interesting. What can I learn from this person?
- Listen without trying to figure out what to say next—follow up questions.
- Be sincere
- No scoping out the room to see who else is there
- No ONE WORD ANSWERS
Sharing what you have
- Offer help with something
- Do favors
- Share information – advice
- What brings you here?
- Where are you from?
- What do you think of Florida? Weather? A lot different than Minot, ND isn’t it? (or wherever the person is from..)
- What company are you with? How long have you been with Widget Makers?
- What do you do with the company?
- How long have you been working (managing, whatever) with widgets?
- What do you hope to get out of this conference?
Keep it going- building conversation:
- How did you get started in the widget field?
- What do you most enjoy about your profession, interest, location or ??
- How does your company differ from XYZ?
- What products do you make?
- Is this your first trip to NPE? Annual event?
- How has the NPE been helpful to your career?
- How did you get started in_______?
- What trends do you see in______plastics in med devices?
- You mentioned________. What got you interested in this area?
Gracefully moving on…..
- It’s been good talking with you. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I’m going to walk around and meet some new people.
- Here comes Kristen. Have you two met? (exit left…)
- Let me take you over to Kristen. I’ll introduce her. (exit right)
- It’s been interesting talking with you. Do you have a card?
- The questions should be focused on the other person, instead of you. Getting the focus off you dilutes the anxiety of networking. Remember, networking is learning about the other person to see how YOU can be helpful to him or her.