5 Ways to Prepare for Networking with Employers
Career Showcase offers great opportunities to students like you – one of them being the ability to network with employers who are hiring for full-time jobs or internships. During recruiting season, you have the opportunity to network with employers not only during Career Showcase but also during information sessions, and employer-led workshops.
The questions that many students want answered about networking range from ‘how do I approach an employer? to ‘what do I even talk to them about’? We have five tips to get you confidently networking!
Prepare by Doing Your Research
One way to feel more comfortable navigating a networking event is by doing your research. Research what companies are going to be there and what positions they are hiring for. Also, once you find companies you want to talk to, dig a little deeper and read their About Us page, learn about their mission, vision, and their culture. These will be good talking points to get a conversation started!
Ask Things You Want to Know
This may sound obvious but really think about what you want to know about the organization you are eyeing. If you are talking to a recruiter from a large company, you may want to know if your voice will be heard. If the location of the company is in a northern state, you may want to seriously ask about the weather and how employees manage during temps you are unfamiliar with. You get the idea. Ask questions that will let you know if you will be a good fit in the company.
Mind Your Body Language
Participating in a networking event is nerve racking. Of course trying to have a conversation with someone you don’t even know is intimidating! But just because you are nervous, your body language does not need to give that away. Make sure to make eye contact, stand comfortably but stand up straight, smile, and talk with your hands. This shows that you are comfortable and staying engaged in the conversation, which makes the person you are talking to feel comfortable talking to you as well.
Remember: Quality Over Quantity
It is easy to want to talk to as many people as possible but remember that quality conversations go a long way, even if that means not talking to as many people. Do not rush your conversations with someone just because you feel like you have to talk to other people. Pay attention and listen actively; if you meet this person in the future, this can be a “Hey, remember you mentioned…” talking point, and this shows that you are a good listener. Make sure to build real, significant connections with the people you talk to at networking events because those are the times of connections that will help you professionally in the future.
Following up with someone you met at a networking event is a good way to show how much you value that connection and also to possibly keep you at the forefront of the recruiter’s options. Don’t get lost in the crowd. Visit employers at Career Showcase, then research to see if they are hosting an information session so you can follow up with them there. Remember to get a business card so you can email employers you connected with to thank them for their time and express how great it was to meet them (this does not mean you should be emailing them every day, flooding their inbox, but a nice email after Career Showcase can go a long way.
Do you have any other questions about what to do at a networking event? Let us know below!