5 Networking Event Tips for Networking Newbies

by Megan McLachlan

You might hear the phrase “networking event” and immediately feel your brow start to sweat. A room full of strangers that may or may not have your future in their hands? Yikes. The whole concept can be pretty terrifying, especially if you’re new to the whole job-search circuit.

Fear not: No one is a born pro at these situations. The people that appear worldly usually have been in your same shoes at some point. The trick is that they have gained a few pieces of advice along the way. Luckily, there are ways you can look like an old hand at networking even if you’re really just an amateur.

Here are 5 Networking Event Tips for Networking Newbies:

1. Prepare and practice.

You might feel ridiculous talking to yourself, but practicing an introduction (even in the mirror so you can see what you look like) is a good way to build confidence and know exactly what you want to say. It’s especially helpful so that you won’t be tongue-tied when you actually talk to the people that count.

2. Know exactly what you can offer.

Make a mental list of all of your skills so that you can figure out how you can apply them to different jobs at the event. You want to be able to answer questions directly instead of him-hawing around when the subject is broached. Employers value directness, as they want someone they can rely on.

3. Be your (sincere) self.

You don’t want to seem fake because people will be able to detect phoniness from a mile away. Don’t try to be someone else and throw out any “buzz” words you think sound impressive. Present yourself with enthusiasm (you want a job!) and personality. Speak like you would normally speak.

4. It’s not all about you.

On another note, be yourself, but don’t make it all about you. Remember, that like a dance, it takes two people to have a conversation and a connection. How would a ballroom dance couple look if only one person were dancing?

5. Follow up.

This might be the most important thing. These employers probably talk to dozens of people who seem interested in jobs and then never contact them again. Similarly, if these prospective employees do contact these employers, it’s months later when the conversation is long forgotten. You want to follow up as soon as possible while you’re fresh in the minds of these contacts.

These tips might not be able to erase the intimidation that goes with networking events, but the more and more you get out there and practice, the easier it will be and the more comfortable you’ll be talking with strangers. Especially when you realize these strangers might have an awesome job somewhere for you.

This post was written by Megan McLachlan

Megan McLachlan writes for Teacher Certification Degrees, a career resource providing useful information and interviews to help individuals learn about becoming a teacher.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gwen Gilliam October 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm

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Chad Agrawal October 24, 2012 at 12:23 am

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