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Networking Tips for Jobseekers

Networking Tips for Jobseekers

Networking is seen as an essential skill to develop if you want to secure your ideal job, but what do you actually say when you turn up to an industry event? Stuart Russell, founder of findnetworkingevents.com explains.

Industry events and business to business networks can provide an ideal way to open up a whole new avenue of opportunities with a bit of planning and creative thinking.

With this in mind here are some top tips for making the best of networking events!

Before an event

Prior to an event think about your reasons for attending and set some goals.

  • Who would you like to meet?  An attendee list is very useful if one is available beforehand.  Do some research on any companies or individuals you would like to connect with.
  • Consider contacting people before the event and introducing yourself with a view to meeting up at the event.
  • Make sure you’re clear about what you are looking for career wise.  Just like writing a CV, when you’re selling yourself face to face you need to tailor what you say to the person.  If you come across as being vague about your career plans then a potential employer is unlikely to picture you working for them.  You need to market yourself as the perfect solution to their problems.

At the event

So it’s the day of the event and you are thrown into a room full of people you have never met before.  Don’t panic, this can be an enjoyable experience!

  • Relax and imagine you are having a conversation with friends.  Find out about the people you are talking to, ask interesting questions about the organisation they work for.
  • Rather than asking people directly if they have any vacancies, ask if they know anyone who you might be able to speak to regarding working in your chosen area.
  • When talking about yourself always speak with confidence and enthusiasm.  Don’t dwell on your past job searching experiences, especially if these have been negative.
  • Don’t interrupt conversations, this can come across as very rude and may put peoples backs up.
  • Be aware of body language.
  • Talk to a variety of people, you never know who they might know or be able to put you in contact with.
  • Avoid getting drunk, if in doubt stick to soft drinks!

After the event

Follow up is a vital part of networking; if you fail to do it then you may miss opportunities.

Always drop new contacts a personal email after an event, mention your conversation and how you would like to progress things further.  Connecting on LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with people.

Finally, networking is all about building up a reservoir of potential opportunities, connections and knowledge about the industry you are targeting.  To get a job you have to stand out from the crowd, a good networking strategy will undoubtedly give you the edge you need.

 

Stuart Russell is founder of www.findnetworkingevents.com, the UK’s leading business networking events directory.  He also spends part of his time helping job hunting students to market themselves better in his role as a careers adviser in higher education.

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