In late 2014, a U.S. News & World Report article stated that 70% of job seekers landed their new role through networking. If you're looking for a job, it means using every opportunity to search. Social media is a great tool and sites like LinkedIn are perused by recruiters and HR Managers daily. But are those business-sponsored networking events worth visiting? How about job fairs? Should you peruse websites like MeetUp.com and Eventful that host local networking events? The answer is resoundingly: YES!
Networking Events: Do's
We've observed that there are definite must do's when attending these activities. There are also mistakes that job seekers make when attending networking events. We've defined some DO's and DON'Ts to help give you that competitive edge at your next networking event:
- DO #1: Be punctual. Don't you hate it when someone comes bustling into the luncheon late? It can interrupt table-side conversations and makes the Johnny-Come-Lately look disorganized. While we know traffic can create a snafu, we recommend arriving 15 minutes early, then taking the car-time to review your notes and catch your breath.
- DO #2: The answer is always a question. Make sure you prepare by memorizing a few questions as conversation starters. This is a great facilitator for groups and will impress others with your warmth and people skills. These are all characteristics HR Managers are looking for in applicants!
Networking Events: Don'ts
- DON'T #1: This isn't a high school dance so don't be a wallflower. We know that networking events are hard for the faint of heart. But to avoid standing in a corner solo, make sure you introduce yourself across the room. See DO #2!
- DON'T #2: Drop that elevator speech! We think elevator speeches are very 1970s. Like bell bottom pants, they need to be eliminated. Often times, these speeches are crafted on paper, so when you say them they sound like a really bad infomercial that makes you want to channel surf. What happens if you turn the sentence describing who you are into a question? Instead of "I'm a marketing executive with 25 years experience in creating multichannel advertising," say, "Have you seen that yogurt billboard on Main Street? That's my work.
Network with us!
We have 27 years worth of networking tips and job search experience that we'd love to share. Artisan Talent is a creative staffing agency promoting the best expertise in the marketing and creative industry and we'd be happy to network with you! You can find us at Creative Mornings, AIGA events, and many more.