For many, figuring out how to present your best self to potential employers at a networking event is stressful. Networking is about representing your professional self in the best possible way while staying true to your experience and skill set. Whether it be virtual or in person, here are several tips and tricks to help you navigate your next networking event.

Dress to Impress

You want to put your best foot forward, so dress the part. Give them an inside look at your professionalism and set yourself apart.

Prepare Ahead

A networking event is never just thrown together. Often, a list of companies is going to be provided prior to the event. Prepare yourself by outlining who you want to meet and do a little research into the company.

Create an Elevator Pitch

Make yourself stand out from others by using an elevator pitch to introduce yourself. An elevator pitch is only meant to be 30 – 45 seconds but will give the individual the most important career experiences in a short amount of time. If you need help with creating an elevator pitch, check out our earlier blog, “Elements of a Strong Elevator Pitch”.

Leave Your Nerves at the Door

Remember everyone else who is looking to network and make connections is probably nervous too. Do not worry if you make a mistake while talking to someone, no one is going to hold it against you. It is better to be yourself and let the conversation flow naturally.

Bring a Resume

Actually, bring at least 10 copies of your resume because you will be handing it out to companies throughout the event. By having resumes ready to go you look prepared and organized. If you’re attending a virtual event, be sure to have a clean, ready-to-email version available to send after meeting someone. A company is more likely to contact you from the resume you provided rather than from their contact sheet.

Interact with Everyone

Don’t just wait to talk to companies at the event. Interact with other participants too. It’s a networking event, you never know what someone has to offer unless you talk with them. If you are at a virtual event, be sure to participate in the event chat or share the event hashtag.

Networking is more than just finding your next career. When done successfully, you can make professional connections that can help you throughout your entire career. No matter the networking event you are attending. Taking some of these tips and tricks with you is going to make you feel prepared for the event.

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