T Nation

Networking Help

So I am graduating soonish Spring 2013. And I went to my first Networking event(was through a club at our school). It was interesting, I was pretty nervous in the beginning but loosened up and felt I did better as the night went on.

But I feel I have this problem were instead of having like a organic conversation with the person I sort of go off into Interview mode and just ask them question after question about the company or how they like working there(they say they LOVE IT lol).

This is a problem I think because the goal of these networking events is to get faced time with the recruiters, and the next event I see them again at another club what am I supposed to talk about, if all I did was not really learn anything personal about them?

I know we have a lot of successful people in the corporate world on T-Nation, so I figured I ask.

Any advice would be greatly appreciative.

Could you clarify your question - are you asking how to network with prospective employers or recruiters?

  1. To be a good networker you should be quite up to date on local and global issues, be able to speak freely on topics outside of work (while keeping things professional).
  2. At all times you’re being judged, remember that, snide remarks, off-colour jokes etc are usually not a good idea.
  3. Always be memorable - this could be in how you communicate (with confidence, with excitement, etc), how confident you dress, the way you carry yourself. They need to remember you.
  4. If you’re asking people about their job - ask them how challenging they find their role? do they feel they are being given opportunities within the company? do they travel much? Use these questions to ask more about the experience. Also be ready to share about yourself. Give a little, get a lot.

Success as a graduate is about numbers, about getting seen, about picking up the phone and networking heavily with all levels of the company. HR is a good start, but get to meet the people behind the company - sales, production, finance.

Companies look great from the outside, but maybe terrible inside, do your research. Look into the list of the most admired companies as a start. Don’t be afraid to join the small start-up - you can handle a lot in a graduate position and the achievements will look great in years to come. Big companies have established processes, structure, also good for a new graduate.

Join all sorts of networking events, business events, chambers of commerce, exhibitions related to a sector you want to join. If you have a sporting passion, get networking within clubs there.

Try to remain unique, employable, expanding your experiences (both professional and personal) - and never back down from a challenge, it’s what makes work worth working for (at least IMHO).

[quote]XanderBuilt wrote:
Could you clarify your question - are you asking how to network with prospective employers or recruiters?


Is there a difference?(serious question)

[quote]optheta wrote:

[quote]XanderBuilt wrote:
Could you clarify your question - are you asking how to network with prospective employers or recruiters?


Is there a difference?(serious question)


I’ve been both a prospective employer and recruiter.

I’ve networked at graduate MBA and executive MBA events (for example). Both graduates are eager to meet recruiters to discuss prospects but the executive MBA batch are more interesting to a recruiter - they are potential candidates or because of their seniority they are prospective future clients.

Recruiters are for the most part quite worldly, they know how companies link to each other, they know their target market from speaking to dozens of candidates in that market. This doesn’t mean they can do their job, just that are very knowledgeable on movements, changes to the sector, what’s going on in the industry or sector or function (Finance, HR etc).

A prospective employer will want to know how you’d fit into their business, what you know about their activities, where could you contribute, how up to date you are on their sector (even as a graduate). It does make employers feel good when prospective candidates know more than the general population about what they do. This knowledge only comes from reading deeply into business, articles related to your sector, meeting people from this sector etc.

A recruiter wants to know where your skills sets are, what your personality is like and where he/she can fit you at one of the clients.

If this is just graduate recruitment then you really ought to cold call, get to know the industry, meet people at various occasions and impress people.

What field are you in? Are you an under graduate or post graduate? Which country?

I wasn’t blessed with the best results in university but I worked heavily on my communication skills, sales ability and obscure knowledge (as funny as that sounds) - knowing how to join the dots is a critical skill, it’s strategic, it’s big picture. Stand out from the rest.

If you’re not on LinkedIn you should be. There’s many articles there discussing recruitment (recruit and staffing industry I think).