When searching for a job or gaining career advice, networking with professionals is a good start. Networking is similar to dating. With Valentine’s Day coming up, remember some of these tips whether at a candlelight dinner or while networking for your dream job.
- Never discredit anyone. You never know what the future may hold. Love blossoms in ways that you would not expect and so does networking. Connect with everyone and be polite as well. Do not burn your bridges as you do not know when you will need a reference from a previous boss.
- Don’t do all the talking. Networking and dating is a mutual process. You do not want to tell your whole life story. Both parties should be asking questions to show a genuine interest in the other. Also, do not spend too much time focusing on your career aspirations. People will remember you after the event for your hobbies, similar hometown, and favorite sports team. Create an engaging, but memorable conversation to spark their attention.
- Listen. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen and be engaged in the conversation. The other person can tell if you start zoning out or become disinterested. After meeting with someone, write down key points that you can remember them by. This can include basics such as their name, the networking event you met them at, and a fun fact about them, such as you both enjoy PB&J sandwiches.
- Stay Sober. If you are concerned about being able to maintain a conversation after a few beers, you better rethink those beers as it is difficult to maintain a sensible conversation. If you feel it is socially acceptable and everyone else has a drink, buy just one. It can be a challenge to loosen up while meeting new people and trying to impress them, but just know your alcohol limit.
- Maintain the Connection. If your first date went well, you may exchange phone numbers. For networking, this may not be very appropriate professionally. However, you can exchange business cards or add them on LinkedIn. From this, you can check in with them periodically and ask about possible job opportunities or any other questions that may arise. From this, you are creating a lasting connection that could potentially lead to your future job.
- Say Thank You. After a date, it is polite to thank them for it. Therefore the same goes with networking and you can do this by emailing or sending them a LinkedIn message thanking them for their time and the opportunity to learn more about their job. Remember to personalize the message, remind them who you are, and include a fun fact from the conversation about yourself. Once you land your dream job, you will look back and want to thank all those that helped you get there.
Good luck this weekend on your date and future networking event! If you have any questions or feel you need practice at networking, feel free to stop by our office in CNH 305 to set up an appointment.