Let’s face it- many of us feel awkward when it comes to networking. Walking into a crowded room alone can be an intimidating feeling for job seekers. By following these rules, networking can be as easy as the ABC’s- at least A-B-C-D-E-F!
A: Appropriate Attire Make sure you are dressed for success. First impressions count, so put your best foot forward. Make sure you wear a current, clean and pressed outfit with no holes or stains.
B: Business Cards When networking, it is always a good idea to leave your information behind so your contact has something to remember you by. Have your local office supply store print business cards with your name, phone number and email address. Another tip when exchanging cards is to write something you learned about the person on the back of the card. That way, when you go through your contacts at a later time, you can easily reference the details you discussed.
C: Current Events Research current events in the news. By studying up on the news and the local business economy, you’ll be able to keep up with the conversations and recognize different company names when you meet new people.
D: Don’t Dominate When speaking with a group of people, don’t dominate the conversation. Remember to give others a chance to give their input. You can learn a great deal more from listening than speaking.
E: Elevator pitch Imagine you are riding in an elevator and only have 15 seconds between floors to describe yourself. Make sure you include your name, your specialty and background information.
F: Follow-up Send a quick email afterwards to your new contacts and add them on LinkedIn. Thank them for the conversation and offer to be of assistance to them in the future. Ask them in turn to keep you in mind if they hear of any positions in your field.