Guide for Professional Networking
A professional networking event is a great opportunity to present yourself, make new connections and even find yourself a new job. Current research shows that a large number of jobs are filled through networking. Successful networkers display a sincere interest in their networking contacts and work hard to develop a relationship.
Meet people through other people
The best and easiest way to meet people is through referrals. Stick around with the people you already know and who know the people you are looking to meet.
When you meet someone new, introduce yourself by making eye contact, smiling, stating your first and last name, and giving a firm but brief handshake. Then, listen for the other person’s name (believe me, it’s easy to miss when you’re nervous), then use it two times while you’re speaking.
Have a few good questions in your back pocket. Asking the other person about her background and work will show her that you’re interested in what they have to say.
The best questions are ones that can’t be answered by just “yes” or “no,” such as:
- How do you like working for your company?
- What’s your primary role at your company?
- What projects are you working on right now?
- How did you get involved in your field?
When it’s your turn to share what you do, state it in just 2-3 sentences. You can delve into greater detail later on.
Take notes. Take notes on what people have to say. This will help you to be more specific in your follow-up.
Don’t be afraid to join in. There is nothing wrong with joining a conversation and waiting for a natural break in the chatter to introduce yourself.
Use social media
Seek out like-minded or key contacts you would like to know better within your LinkedIn profile, Google Plus, Twitter and more. Try commenting on a link they post or responding to a comment they make, start a conversation with them and offer them value in return.
Use Your Resume as a Tool for Advice
Another easy yet highly effective way to network during a job search is to ask others who you have established a relationship with to review your resume and give you feedback on how to improve it. Using this technique is valuable for a number of reasons. When reviewing your resume they will discover your work history, your previous titles, your objectives and many things they may not yet know about you.
Present A Success Story
Once you have found a topic the other person may be interested in and you can offer advice on, present a solution by telling a story about how you helped others in a similar situation. Tell them about your problem and how you solved it, but keep it short and sweet. Start by telling them about the problem and then your solution.
A few days after the event, send follow-up emails to anyone you met that you’d like to continue networking with. Make sure to personalise each email, letting each person know you enjoyed meeting them and mentioning something that you talked about.