By Isabel Padilla
I know that networking can be nerve-racking, but forming relationships on the other side of the door is an advantage and opportunity to get into your dream career. There is no doubt that gaining connections at different corporations will bring you success in your future. In this blog, you will learn new tips and tricks on how to gain these connections that will help you with your future now or later on in life.
As said earlier, networking can be scary; however, there are ways to overcome that fear and conquer that networking floor. Practicing the below steps will have you feeling more confident than ever when you are speaking to new connections.
The easiest way to gain connections is through networking events, so try to go to as many as possible. Here are five easy steps that will help you gain connections and feel comfortable networking with others.
Step 1: Prepare
Do your research on every company that will be attending the networking event. Get to know what the company does and its background story. Research the person or people that will be representing the company at the event. Find out their title, what they do and possibly some interests. You can find most of this information through LinkedIn so, make sure to make an account if you have not done so. After researching the company and the representative, make sure to have some questions ready to ask them.
Step 2: Practice What You Preach
Sell yourself! The whole point of this networking event is to gain connections and tell them what you are capable of. Before attending the event, make sure to practice what you will be saying so that you feel and sound confident. When going over your experiences and what you are capable of doing, make sure to keep it short and straight to the point. They are looking for individuals with a great personality and, depending on your personality type, you may be a good fit for their work environment. Practice with someone or in front of your mirror but make sure to keep eye contact with them/your reflection so that you look confident.
Step 3: What You Will Need On The Day Of The Event
A new connection’s first impression of you will be how you are dressed, so make sure to dress to impress. Choose an outfit that fits well and make sure you feel comfortable and confident in it. Next, print out plenty of your resume and/or business card to hand out to each representative you speak to. I would also suggest taking a professional notepad to take any notes if necessary - nothing too fancy, just business attire appropriate.
Step 4: Network
Once the event has finally come, allow yourself to be prepared by getting to the event 15 minutes early. Look out for each company that you researched and go straight to the ones you are interested in. Do not be afraid to join a group that is already conversing with the representative; they are most likely to welcome you. Give the representative a good handshake and confidently introduce yourself. Try to speak to as many companies as you can. Get their business cards and connect with them through LinkedIn to build up your network. Don’t forget to hand them your resume and/or business card if they seem interested.
Step 5: Follow Up
Follow up the next day with the people you met. Remind them who you are and let them know that you are interested in holding a position at their company while attaching your resume to the email. There is a chance that you will be contacted back with an opportunity. If the company is not hiring at the moment, try somewhere else. But, at least you now have a connection with someone inside the company that can help you out in the future. Continue to follow up every once in a while, so they see that you are still very interested, but do not overdo it.
Gaining connections and building that relationship with someone who is inside a company you want to work for is a huge step closer to your dream career. Even if the company is not hiring at the moment, you will have a reference for the future as long as you follow up. If it does not work out at your first networking event, that is okay. Just keep attending them until it pays off. Practice makes perfect.
It is never too late to start networking and growing your connections; it is always beneficial to put yourself out there. Going to these networking events constantly will have you leaving confident because you mastered the way you introduce yourself and your abilities which is something company representatives are looking for.
If you do not know where to start, sign up with LinkedIn for free to begin building up your connections.
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