It can be all too easy to become daunted by the prospect of approaching a potential employer, but take a step back for a minute and consider the following: every day, most of us interact with others either on a face to face, virtual basis, or both. When you attend a class, society or go on a night out you meet others and connect with them, often exchanging contact details. Here’s how to apply these skills you already have to a formal setting.
Preparation is key
Business networking, no matter the scenario is very similar to what you do everyday. Yes, it’s more formal, but remember that you already have all the skills you need. Add some preparation to this and you will be a force to be reckoned with!
Having commercial awareness and practicing your elevator pitch will stand you in good stead to make a lasting impression.
Having good commercial awareness is a great way to make a positive impression with potential employers. What is commercial awareness? First, understand the company and second, understand market trends. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Social media is your friend – Most companies have various social media profiles. So download apps such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and get researching!
- Check our our company directory on CareerHub+ – Here you will find a database of (at the time of writing) 2033 companies. Search by various categories such as country and type of industry.
- Immerse yourself in the industry – Being knowledgeable about market trends will make you shine to a prospective employer. Check our Industry Reports on CareerHub+.
The Elevator Pitch
You might have heard this term before, but what does it mean? An elevator pitch is a great way to sell yourself and your personal brand. It needs to be clear, concise and take approximately 60 seconds to convey. Lets look at the four stages of the pitch.
- Who you are – Make sure to grab the listener’s attention. Make yourself relevant to them. For example, what skills can you contribute?
- What you do – What have you been doing recently that’s relevant to the listener? You could discuss job roles, projects or responsibilities.
- Why are you unique? – There will be something that makes you unique, what is it? Consider anything specific that you can offer them that others may not.
- Your goals and ambitions – Aim to be very clear about these. Make sure that they align to that of your listener.
For more information, and to build you own elevator pitch check CareerHub+.
Congratulations, you’ve been bold enough to put yourself out there! You’re prepared and eager to make business contacts. Here are a few things to consider before approaching people.
- Remember to demonstrate that you’re interested in who you’re talking to – ask them questions and listen carefully to what they say.
- Remember that lasting impressions are important – have a think about how you want them to remember you.
Check out our article on making good first impressions, here at CareerHub+.
“Start with a smile, start with a hello” (Babs, ME-PLC)
The manner in which you ‘break the ice’ with someone is important. When engaging in conversations try to have a good idea of how you are going to open the conversation and what you are going to say afterwards. Consider some of the following suggestions.
- “How was your journey today”?
- “What brings you to this event”?
- “Have you been enjoying this event”?
- “I read your article on… I found… very interesting”
What to do afterwards
Give yourself a pat on the back for putting yourself out there and building business contacts. Next, why not reflect upon your experience. Make a list of what went well and what could have gone better. Reflection is a great way to consider how effective you’ve been at a task and how you can improve going forwards.
Don’t forget to connect to any contacts that you’ve made. Add them on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. Keep in contact with them and make sure to update your own profile to reflect your achievements and projects that you’re working on.
Got a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01206 874000 or visit the Student Services Hub on the first floor of the Silberrad Student Centre.