By: Jack Pelzer
Recruiting season is heating up, which means you will probably soon be attending an abundance of corporate networking events. On paper, these functions can seem flat out terrifying—full of interactions with strangers, and name tags, and whatever they call those leather cases that hold resumes—yet, no one can doubt that the networking event is a powerful tool for building the types of relationships that lead to jobs. In light of this fact, the Irish Echoes has compiled a few tips to help you navigate the meet-and-greet gauntlet.
Resist the temptation to stand in the corner with your friends, eating hors d’oeuvres and talking about how awkward networking events are. Your friends already know it’s awkward. I know it’s awkward. The recruiters know it’s awkward. In fact, we are all on the same page as far as the awkwardness of networking events. You know what would make things less awkward? If you went and talked to one of the representatives. That’s what they are there for! I have never seen someone publicly ridiculed for approaching a company booth and asking a few questions. Just do it. You’ll be fine!
Don’t overstay your welcome
Listen, we at the Irish Echoes fully believe that your life story is fascinating. However, when there are a hundred other students trying to drop-off resumes and grab a business card, you might want to keep the conversation on topic. The company representatives are there to be friendly and supportive. This does not necessarily mean that they wish to be your best friend for the evening.
Do your research
Know which companies are going to be there and prepare a handful of thoughtful questions for each of your targets. Hopefully, something deeper than, “So, your headquarters are in Toledo, eh?” Try to ask questions that go into specifics of the job, industry, or company culture.
This is just good advice in general. Don’t get drunk either.
Stay in touch
If you really clicked with a company, think about following up with a quick email. NOTE: If choosing to go this route, you should be reasonably confident that they also clicked with you. In any case, don’t hound connections with multiple emails. Frankly, this behavior already falls under the “Don’t be rude” umbrella.
Jack is the editor-in-chief of the MBA Irish Echoes.