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Blog Advanced Insights

How to Prepare for a Networking Event

The stats are hard to ignore - up to 80% of today's jobs are landed through networking. Networking is key in a job search and throughout your career, and networking events are a great way to build your connections. Here's how to successfully prepare for a networking event:

Before the event

1. Business cards. If you don't have any already, invest in some from sites like Vistaprint or Moo.com. Of course you'll need to plan ahead to allow time for shipping. 

2. Appropriate attire. Check the invitation for a stated dress code. If it's not stated, err on the side of going business dress. Make sure your clothes are comfortable, since the last thing you want to be doing during a conversation is fiddling with your clothes. 

3. Short elevator pitch.  "What do you do?" can sometimes put you in an awkward position if you're not prepared, especially if you're unemployed. 

The Event 

1. Move around the room. You're there to network to try to (politely and gracefully) meet as many people as you can. 

2. Listen. Yes, you may be eager to talk all about yourself, but you don't want to come across as a desperate job seeker. Instead, listen to what your new connection is saying. Ask questions. Engage in conversation.

3. Part ways gracefully. If you want to further your conversation, exit with, "I enjoyed our conversation and would love to learn more about your work. May I have your contact information to plan a time to talk?

After the event
1. Take notes. As soon as you can, write notes on the back of each business card you collected. Writing reminders about the conversation you had, an interesting fact about the person, questions you thought of later, etc. will help you when you follow up.
2.Follow up. Did you tell someone you'd like to schedule another time to meet? Get back to that person within a couple days.Connect on LinkedIn with a personal message.
3.Evaluate. How do you confident do you think you came across to others? What are some things you can improve upon for the next event?
Attending networking events can sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking. Hang in there! You probably won't be the only one at the event feeling shy or awkward. You'll find your confidence growing in no time. 
Tell us: What are some things you've done to prepare for networking events?

Topics: Career/Interview Tips

Posted by Advanced Resources on May 2, 2013