Networking is a word that conjures up dread for so many people.
Chances are, the moment you read that word an image popped into your head of a room full of strangers, many awkward conversations and the excessive exchanging of business cards.
And to be honest, if that is what popped into your head with the word networking, the dread is justified.
Generally, this is a topic that we dislike discussing the most – but it’s also one of the topics that we need to LEARN about!
Why? Because networking is important in growing and succeeding in your career and life!
At our generationYOU Live Events we love asking you for your best networking tips, so we looked through our archives and picked four of the best to expand on.
One // “Volunteer. As a volunteer for the event I had the unique experience interacting with the organisers and speakers.” Lisa Lewis
An oldie but a goldie. Lisa had the best of both worlds at generationYOU 2017 – she was able to meet and interact with organisers and speakers!
Volunteering gives you visibility – its an opportunity to be exposed to a wide range of strong and influential people! Need I say more?
Two // “Understand that the value influential people can bring you, can come from different levels, industries and walks of life (AKA you can learn from anyone).” Beatrice Aurelia
What Beatrice indicates, that a lot of us tend to forget, is that just as we have a unique perspective and skillset to offer someone – so in turn does the person beside us. Regardless of whether we are talking to the Managing Director, Human Resources Manager or an Intern of a Company, each conversation should be treated equally with value, respect and excitement!
Whilst you may study Marketing, it does not mean that you should become uninterested in meeting people from other industries. For example, employees who work in the technology industry have a lot to offer in terms of upcoming platforms, apps and hacks that are helping to engage audiences.
When you’re speaking with someone don’t fall into the trap of being so intent on finding out if there is a job opening at their Company that you forget their position and that they may not be privy to that information. Focus instead on topics that are relevant to the both of you.
Three // “Having a business card – even just as a student – will be the difference between you and another person in the same position as you.” George Pagonis
Don’t ever lower your self worth. Every single person started from somewhere. As George points out – you may be a ‘student’ but that doesn’t mean you can’t come prepared to impress. Let’s look at how we can communicate your current status as a job-seeker professionally.
>> Ensure that you have covered the most important basics: name, phone number and e-mail address.
>> Include what field you’re hoping to work in or what degree you’ve graduated with. If you haven’t graduated yet include your degree and the year you will finish.
>> Do you have a professional blog or website? Include the URL on your business card. Better yet, if your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date (which it always should be!), include this on your card – your profile should extend as an online resume.
Lindsey Pollak, author of From College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real Word says:
“If you’re dreary, boring and unfocused, and your card is fabulous – it’s not going to help,” she says. “You have to be the best representative of yourself and your card is simply your information.”
Four // “Research the event before you attend; find out about the space, who will be attending etc. Look up the other attendees on LinkedIn before going.” Elouise Robinson
It’s important to be informed about the event and the employees. Not only does this reflect a positive and professional impression of you to your connections but it will also boost your confidence and ensure you enjoy the event! Things to consider:
>> What is the dress code for the event? Are there previous photos from similar events where you can get a general idea of what people wore? Pick something that you won’t have to adjust, fiddle with and that you can breathe comfortably in!
>> Is there a particular person going to this event that you think it would be worthwhile connecting with? Do they work in an industry where you would like to get your foot in the door? Do as Elouise says and find them on LinkedIn! Did they study the same degree as you? Find a similarity and you are already half-way there – people are more likely to connect with you if you have common ground with them.
>> It’s handy to memorise at least one topic that will be spoken about at the event. This will help you conversing with other attendees and ensure that people know you’re at the event for the right reasons!
Our one-day events are coming up in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. If you are looking for guidance on your career journey, advice on a range of career topics from industry leaders and the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers – then we want you to join us!