Career Fairs and other networking events are a great way to meet a variety of employers and connect with individuals in your field. Below are some tips to help you prepare for these events and get the most out of your experience.
- Be prepared. Know something about the organization or person you are meeting. You can find a lot of information by doing online research.
- Think about how you are going to introduce yourself.
- Come with at least three questions to ask and three stories to tell.
- Bring business cards, résumés, a notepad, a pen, tissues and mints.
- Dress professionally.
- Arrive early and remember you are on from the minute you walk in the door.
- Strengthen old relationships and build new ones.
- Sit with someone new and learn their name.
- Be confident in your approach by:
- Having a strong handshake
- Showing genuine interest in the other person
- Giving eye contact
- Respecting personal space
- Networking is about giving before you get. Talk about things you are learning that might benefit the organization.
- Always ask people their preferred method of communication for follow-up.
What Not To Do:
- Suggest you have nothing to learn.
- Be pushy.
- Discuss salaries.
- Suggest you have learned nothing.
- Give the impression of being passive about your career.
- Speak negatively of others.
After the Event - Maintain the Connection:
- Follow up immediately. Send a thank-you note or connect on LinkedIn within 24 hours.
- Send an update. Let your contact know what you've been up to.
- Share articles/news.
- Ask a question. Continue to use your connection as a resource, even after the event or informational interview.
- Go for coffee.
- Offer congratulations. Did your contact recently get a promotion? Congratulate them!
- Send a holiday greeting.
- Make a phone call. Stay in touch!