Making the Most of University...

Making the Most of University Networking Events

by author below
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

By Avreet Jagdev

Being a university student is a great opportunity, not only to learn, but to build strong connections and build your network. Networking means to build professional or academic connections with others in your industry and is useful for many reasons. Networking may help you find a professional mentor, connect you to your dream job, and can help propel your career goals.

Universities often hold networking events in which you can connect with professionals from a particular industry, or with people who are alumni of your school. Going to these events is a great way to start building your network! Here are some steps you can take and things to keep in mind so that you can make the most of these events:

  1. Set goals for the event

Before the event, reflect on what your goals are. What do you want out of the event? Is it to meet new people, find a long-term mentor, or improve your networking and confidence skills? Figuring out your goals beforehand will ensure you approach your event meaningfully and will help you get the most out of it.

  1. Research attendees in advance

Sometimes, events may release information about key attendees in advance. If you have access to this information before the event, make sure to read through it! You might want to shortlist some people that you’re particularly interested in talking to and try to remember their names and what they do. This will help you walk into the event with intention, and approach conversations more confidently.

  1. Practice introducing yourself

First impressions matter! Before the event, think about how you’ll want to introduce yourself. It’s a good idea to tell people your name, major, and what you’re interested in pursuing in the future. If you are nervous about introducing yourself, write down what you’d like to say and practice with a friend or with yourself in front of a mirror!

  1. Come up with open-ended questions

Think of some questions that you are genuinely interested in the answers to, and instead of yes/no questions, come up with questions that are open-ended and encourage meaningful questions. For example, instead of asking someone if they like their field of work, ask what they like about it or what drew them to it.

  1. Show up prepared and as your best self

Make sure you show up to the event prepared! Give yourself enough time to arrive at the event on time, and wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in! Some events will indicate dress codes beforehand, but if you’re unsure, business casual is always a safe bet.

  1. Be approachable and genuine

Have open body language, smile, make eye contact, and approach others or join groups that look welcoming! Networking events are about making connections, and the most genuine ones will happen when you are approachable and being yourself. During conversations, make sure you are actively listening and contributing meaningfully.

  1. Collect business cards, contact info, or LinkedIn accounts!

A key part of networking is staying in touch, so be sure to collect people’s information after you’ve talked to them! They may have business cards, or you can always ask for their email or to connect with them on LinkedIn.

  1. Follow up afterward

If there is someone you particularly meeting, make sure to stay in touch after the event by following up with them! Send them an email or a message thanking them for their conversation, and opening yourself up to further conversation, or even a chat over coffee!

Leave a comment!