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How to succeed before, during and after networking events

Networking is simply building your “list” of contacts. If you’re a student and you don’t think you have a network, think again! Your network begins with family, friends, coworkers.

You can use your network for a variety of things: to keep in touch, to learn more about careers, to seek out employment opportunities, or even to fundraise for a good cause.

In some cases, people in your network know you want a job. However, don’t let this be the only reason you keep in touch. Networking is a relationship, meaning the other person needs to benefit somehow.

It could mean you occasionally send them an article relevant to their job or a project they’re working on. You could even send them a thank you whenever you use the advice they gave you.

Networking can take place informally and formally. Informal networking is simply talking to new people you meet and keeping in touch after. Formal networking usually takes place at “networking events” or “mix and mingles” where people are there with the intent of expanding their network of contacts.

Here are some tips on how to network successfully at formal networking events:

Before the event…

  • Research the companies that will be present
  • Be up to date on current news, especially news involving potential employers and their related industries
  • Make sure you have some nice, professional business cards (you don’t need to spend a lot on these at this stage in the game!)

At the event…

  • Talk to the companies that you are very interested in first as they are likely to be busy
  • Don’t focus on eating the food
  • Be courteous and don’t hog the employer – there are many people wanting to talk to each employer, so ask a few good questions and then move on

Written by

Valerie Aguiar is a graduate from the Management Co-op Program at the University of Toronto Scarborough and winner of the 2011 EWO Co-op Student of the Year award. Valerie works in sales at Nestle Canada, where she also completed a co-op term. Outside of work, Valerie is actively involved with a youth program for middle school children.

One comment

  1. October 20, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Formal networking events can be soooo awkward. It can be more awkward than dating – and for the most part, it’s like trying to speed date your way into a job or business opportunity.

    Great article.


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