When it comes to networking today, the truth is that lot of it has moved online – just think of all of the social media platforms (ahem, Facebook, Linkedin) that have made connecting with people, companies and jobs that much easier.
However, when you look at ALL of the ways to find the right job, meeting contacts face-to-face is still incredibly valuable. The main reason for that – because face-to-face interaction helps you make a more personal connection. After all, one of the most surefire ways to know if a company will be great to work for is to talk to current, happy employees – whether that means getting their honest company reviews online or talking to them in person.
But just keep in mind that in order to impress anyone in person, and particularly in a networking setting, you’ll need a whole lot more than a bright smile and a firm handshake.
Here are a handful of things you won’t want to be without at your next job fair, conference, or other networking event where there is career-building potential:
1. Get background information on the companies you may run into
In many cases, you’ll be able to anticipate running into certain companies at your next event or gathering; whether because it’s being hosted by known companies in your field or area, or maybe you even saw the guest list. Either way, knowledge is power – research companies online before going to your networking event so that you’ll have bits of useful information that you can use to your networking benefit. Pro tip: use that background information to help you start conversations and build relationships with (very) important people.