How to Win Jobs and Influence Recruiters: Preparing for a Networking Event

Jobs & Careers

How to Win Jobs and Influence Recruiters: Preparing for a Networking Event

By Sam Peterson     Sep 11, 2018

How to Win Jobs and Influence Recruiters: Preparing for a Networking Event

This article is part of the guide: How to Score a Job in Edtech: Tips From Experts, Experienced Job Hunters and More.

They say first impressions are the most lasting. But don’t underestimate the sticking power of your second or third impression either; follow-through and follow-up are just as important as that introductory handshake. And of course, there’s plenty of work that goes into preparing for the one big moment that sets everything else in motion. So, let’s take it step by step to make sure you’re ready to shine at your next edtech networking event.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

Prepare your documents. Both analog and digital records matter. Make sure that your resume, business cards and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date and accurately portray your relevant qualifications and experience. Need some help getting your CV up to snuff? Check out our short list of insider tips here.

Do your research. Learn which companies will be present at the event you’re attending. Spend some time looking into each to get familiar with their work in and impact on the space you’re hoping to enter. Where possible, look for overlaps between your personal philosophies and each company’s stated mission, and think of ways to highlight the intersection of ideals. (Don’t fake this; let it happen naturally or not at all.) Be sure to look at current or recent job postings to know which roles they’re hiring for so that you can relate your own attributes to the qualities they’re seeking in their potential candidates.

Practice your elevator pitch. Write up a brief professional bio with relevant highlights. Add a few thoughtful questions that pertain to the hiring companies—their mission, open roles, exciting new projects—and comment specifically on your qualifications in relation to these. Now, practice saying all of this aloud several times over until it feels natural. Make sure it’s concise (under a minute, ideally) and that you can recite it without coming across like an automaton.

Dress the part. This should go without saying, but there’s undeniable wisdom to the old adage about dressing for the job you want. As we already mentioned, that initial mental snapshot can, for better or worse, have an enduring impact, so be sure to show ‘em your good side. Professional but modest attire tells everyone that you mean business.

Get your head in the game. Feeling relaxed and self-assured as you walk into a networking event will help you to perform well and make a lasting impact. Consider engaging in mindfulness exercises to reduce any anxiety you may be feeling in the hours leading up to the event.

It’s Showtime.

Control what you can. On the day of the event, show up early with all of the above items checked off your list, confident in the knowledge that you’ve done everything in your power to prepare for this moment. In addition to your resume and business cards, you might consider bringing along your written bio and any notes gathered in your research so you can review during downtime. This can serve as a helpful reminder of all the hard work you’ve done and also act as a sort of security blanket if you find yourself flustered at any point.

Let go of everything else. You don’t get to decide where or when the event will take place, how crowded it will be, whether food and drink will be available (or edible), or what mood a given hiring manager may be in when you approach. You do, however, get to decide how you’ll react to all of the circumstances you face—at least on the surface. So, greet everyone with a smile, and keep your energy positive. (Oh, and try to nibble on food that won’t splatter!)

Focus on the task at hand. Your objective is to leave this event with promising prospects and the names of recruiters you can contact in the days that follow. Do not allow anything to distract or dissuade you from achieving that goal. Plan to stick around until the very end if necessary, and make the most of any opportunity that presents itself. (You might even circle back as things wind down and offer to help pack up materials. Always good to be remembered as the candidate who came ready to work.) Attend Q&As—and ask questions, network with other job seekers while you’re waiting in line or snacking, and plan to speak with as many hiring managers as you reasonably can, whether they represent those companies you’ve thoroughly researched or some you’ve never heard of before. Don’t forget to collect contact info from everyone you meet!

Stick the Landing.

Reconnect. Follow-up is just as important as attending the event in the first place. Reviving the conversations you started at the event is an essential next step. Reach out to the hiring managers you’ve met to thank them for taking the time to speak with you. Be sure to do this within a business day or two of the event itself so the details are still fresh in everyone’s mind.

Remind. If, indeed, you have made the sort of impression you hoped to on your first encounter, it shouldn’t take much more than a quick reference to some portion of that earlier conversation to spark a hiring manager’s memory. Mention some unique detail from your interaction at the networking event, and include your resume and LinkedIn profile in the message to help them connect the various pieces of your puzzle.

Renew. Now’s the time to gently request some commitment on their part. Ask about setting an informal coffee date or, if the situation feels right, scheduling something more formal such as a phone or video interview. Be flexible, but don’t be afraid to assert yourself. What happens from that point on is mostly up to you.

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