Your network is critical to the success of your job hunt. Effective networking habits at events can enhance an already dynamic roster of professional connections.
Job fairs and career events seem like obvious places to find good contacts to expand your job hunt. But if you do not have a career event networking plan for each conference or meet-up you go to, then you could be missing out on opportunities to talk to important and influential people.
Talk to the Most Promising Contacts First
The misconception about career event networking is that you start at the first booth and then make your way around the room. The problem with that strategy is that it does not take into account the fact that not every employer at the career fair is going to work in your field.
A big part of success at a career fair is planning, and if you want to network at career events, then it’s best to start with the companies that are looking for people with your qualifications.
That is not to say that you should avoid the other companies, because you shouldn’t. But if you start with the most promising contacts first, then there is a chance that you may be doing interviews by the end of the day.
Prepare for the Event in Advance
A proactive job hunter spends the days leading up to a career event researching the companies that will be at the event. Prepare customized materials for each company. You are going to find a lot more success in adding industry contacts to your career network if you impress everyone with how prepared you are for the career event.
Network with Everyone
It may come as a surprise, but not everyone at the career event is job hunting. In some instances, you will come across employers who did not want to pay for a booth at the event, but still wanted to see what kind of candidates were available.
You will also find that expanding your network with job hunters in your industry can be extremely beneficial as well. If you approach fellow job hunters in a professional and helpful manner, then they will usually respond in a positive way and enhance your career network.
The tendency for many job hunters at career events is to keep to themselves and try to talk to as many potential employers as possible. But the people who really understand effective networking at career fairs are the ones who are outgoing and are trying to meet as many people as possible.
Always be prepared to shake a new hand or make a new contact, and do your best to expand your career network while you are working the floor at the job fair or conference.
Attending in-person conferences, career fairs and professional conventions is a great way to expand your business connections. These career event networking tips will get you started and help you leverage each event to improve your chances of meeting someone who can help you achieve your career goals.