For this article, I talked to each member of our executive team for their take on networking, and their best advice on how to do it well. Alrik, one of our Special Events Coordinators, described it in a way that I thought was perfect to share at the beginning of this article. In his words, “networking realistically boils down to making a strong impression with someone”. This could be accomplished through genuine interest in the company, similar personal experiences between you and a company representative, or an open mind and curious attitude during information sessions. For both students and representatives, there’s nothing worse than feeling forced to ask a question or being asked what your favourite part of the company is. Be genuine with your passions, be inquisitive with your questions and most importantly, don’t be boring. With that, I present to you the Wolfpack’s best networking tips.
Jake’s networking tip is two-fold. First, listen’s 80% of the time and ask genuine, interesting questions. This shows you care about the person, role and organization beyond what they can provide. It also gives you the necessary information to determine if this is the right fit. Second, look for the opportune time to provide your experience and how you would fit at the company. If you can pose to the company rep that you would be a tremendous fit based on the information they gave (since you were listening 80%), the rep will feel that you are providing value, and will be more likely to recommend you.
Everything is better with a buddy, and that includes networking! Starting a conversation with a friend by your side (or a stranger for that matter) is a quick and easy way to keep the conversation flowing and fill potential awkward silences. Plus, by including another person in the conversation, you’ll get to hear answers to questions you might not have thought of.
Do you research before attending a coffee chat or information session to ensure that you have talking points, and can fill potential gaps in the conversation. Also, add a splash of colour of fun in your business formal (necklace, purse, socks). It makes you more memorable!
Write one unique thing about each representative on the back of their business card. This helps for when you want to write follow up emails and mention something memorable you discussed with them. It’s difficult to remember what each person said after talking to multiple people.
Reach out to Queen’s Alum! I’m always surprised at how many of them are willing to help you throughout all stages of the recruiting process, whether that be giving you information about their firm or giving you advice of their own.
Make sure you’re engaged through body language. A simple thing like nodding your head or making sure your arms aren’t cross can show the representative that you are listening and interested in what they’re saying!
The most important part of networking is to be yourself. Making a personal connection with the recruiter will do much more to help them remember you than telling them how qualified you are. They talk to hundreds of students on a given day, and the unique discussion they had with you about a common interest is something they will remember.