If you haven’t begun to do so by now, networking can make your career. It truly pays to know people. Who knows, your next boss could be your childhood friend, which leads to you becoming a Creative Director, which leads to your dream job and also, dream salary.
All dreaming aside, networking is one of the best possible things you can do in the beginning of your career hunt. Attend those job fairs, volunteer seminars and student days that cost thirty dollars to get in. that thirty dollars could be the best money you’ve ever spent. Chances are too it’s tax deductible for all you penny pinchers out there.
When networking, it is important to stay true to yourself and what you would like others to think of you. Don’t inflate your previous experience merely to impress your colleagues, or potential employer. This inflated version of yourself will come to an end once they realize you really aren’t what you made it seem to be. Set expectations for yourself when going into job fairs. Push yourself to hand out more resumes, business cards and mingle with anyone and everyone.
Some advice when networking and attending seminars:
- Be approachable
- Don’t share too much about yourself. It’s great you can chug a tall-boy in ten seconds, but does your future employer need to know that?
- Eating? Remember your table manners!
- Make a bulleted list of relevant extracurricular activities you were a part of.
- Have your portfolio ready! Include business cards, resumes and previous work that can be easily transported and is aesthetically pleasing.
Being professional doesn’t mean that you need to go out and buy a two piece suit, slick back your hair and refer to yourself as Mr. or Mrs. Employers are looking for people that they are willing to allow be the face of their company or organization. This face needs to be able to reflect their goals and values at all times. This may mean that you need to be able to stay poise when in sticky situations and allow yourself to be composed when faced with angry clients and catastrophes.
However, it wouldn’t hurt if you still had that suit on hand.