KNOW YOUR SPACE
Hopefully you already keep up with the news in your sector, but in particular before attending networking events, or meeting new people, make sure you’re up on all your industry updates - you’ll be able to join in and contribute to conversations much more easily, and you’ll look confident and industry savvy to any potential employers.
BEAT THE NERVES
You may get nervous at the prospect of meeting new people, but for the most part they really aren’t that terrifying! At networking events the other people there want to be there too, and want to meet you as much as you want to meet them. They know this isn’t like a friend’s party, or meeting in a social gathering – they’re there to network, and so are you: go in, confident in that knowledge.
WHAT VALUE CAN YOU ADD?
Ask questions, and listen to the answers before wading in! Most people do not truly listen. This will help you to work out how you can help the person you are meeting, which is much more likely to lead to positive outcomes than just thinking about (or asking straight out) how you can get a job from them. Perhaps you should think of some questions in advance that will good conversation openers and allow people to tell you about themselves. If they work with a company that you’re interested in, what would you plan to say to them?
KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING
If the conversation is going well, try and invite them for a coffee and a deeper conversation or schedule in a second meeting with them. If that isn’t possible either, make sure you get their contact details so you can at least email them saying how great it was to meet them – it’s a great way to keep the conversation going. Along those lines, always turned up with more business cards than you think you’ll need – you want to be able to leave your contact details with everyone you meet.
If it’s clear that they won’t personally be able to help you in your job search, they may be able to refer you to others within their company who can. According to Jobvite referrals generate nearly 40% of all hires, and are hired 55% quicker than other applicants. Likewise, if there’s a company you’d really like to work for, get in touch. Chances are we’ll know someone at the company, and if the time is right, we may be able to introduce you ourselves!