Companies typically receive an average 250 applications for every job opening, the first of which hits within 200 seconds after a position is posted. So your best bet for getting the job of your dreams is to have an inside track – which is why face-to-face networking, through job fairs and sponsored events, has become such a powerful tool for career advancement. So what are some useful professional and business networking tips?
Do Your Research
Good research is essential in finding the right networking events or zeroing in on a few choice recruiters at a job fair. Look for events that will attract others who share your interests and experiences. Likewise, create a “cheat sheet” of pertinent highlights for each company on your job list. Knowing relevant information about the company can also help you improve your professional networking skills. Check out our Business Cards for the 21st Century infographic.
Create Your Elevator Pitch
Come armed with a concise, 30-second elevator pitch that underscores who you are and the professional value you bring. To keep from sounding rehearsed, practice it ahead of time by saying it out loud or, even better, video recording it until it comes naturally. The harder you try to sell yourself while networking, the less natural it will appear.
To ensure a lasting impression, follow up within 72 hours of making a new professional connection. Be sure to exchange business cards, and use them to jot a few notes about your conversation that will come in handy when you craft a well-written “thanks for your time and let’s keep in touch” email.