Conference acceptance? Check.

Conference attire packed? Check.

Networking icebreakers and questions ready? …

Networking is a skill and it’s one that can be hard to develop, but it is a great way to build corporate relationships and learn more about an industry or career you’re interested in. Here are 5 tips to help you become a networking pro:

  1. Be yourself. As cliche as it sounds, being genuine and sincere goes a long way. The best way to stand out from the crowd is showcasing your unique personality and having a positive attitude.
  2. Be prepared. Have a couple questions ready to ask the recruiter, which can be about the company they work for, their daily work routine, or what sparked their interest in their current role. If they’re a recent grad you can ask about their university experience and what it’s been like working in “the real world” or what they like most about their new job!
  3. Be enthusiastic! Positive energy and enthusiasm are contagious. It’s like smiling. When you smile at someone, the automatic response of the person you’re talking to is to smile back. Expressing your genuine interest in them and the company they work for will help create common ground and shared interests between you and the company representative.
  4. Listen and absorb. Great conversationalists are great listeners. Networking is the perfect opportunity to learn valuable information about company culture, and hear about first hand experiences. Remember to take the time to listen and you’ll accomplish two things at once: gain valuable insights and learn something you can store in your back pocket for a follow up conversation!
  5. Always say thank you. After a great conversation, ask if the person you spoke to has an email address you can contact them at. Remember to send a thank you email within 48 hours of your conversation, the extra effort goes a long way!

Walking into a room full of people is intimidating for anyone. Try to start by talking to someone you know or feel comfortable with, or a group that looks like they’re having an open discussion and go from there. Once you get the hang of it, networking can be fun and a great way to expand your professional network!

Here are five example questions:

  1. What made you interested in this industry and how did you join the company you are currently working for?
  2. What are your day to day responsibilities of your job?
  3. What do you enjoy most about your job/ What keeps you coming back to your job day after day?
  4. What is the company culture like at the ______ company?
  5. What qualities and skill have helped contribute to your success during your career/ or in the company you work for?

For more examples of questions and advice check out the Business Career Center under “How to Network”!

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