How to Research for a Professional Networking Event
A Professional Networking Horror Story: NO RESEARCH
Imagine this, you walk into a massive exhibit hall. You walk around but aren’t quite sure where to start. You walk around feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of companies.
All these questions start running through your head!
- How will I figure out which company is a good fit for me?
- What do I say?
- Who should I talk to?
- Who will actually listen to me?
- Do they have any positions that I’m interested in?
In an effort to get started you pick three companies to start with, but they didn’t seem interested in taking your resume and also didn’t have any positions that matched your skillet. Or maybe you picked 5 or 10 companies to speak to, but you didn’t feel like you got anywhere closer to getting a job. Why is that?
I can tell you, I did the same thing at my first career fair. I failed to make a meaningful connection because I did not do my research. What I didn’t know at the time is that you can fix this Networking horror story in 3 easy steps!
“You can fix this Networking horror story in 3 easy steps” -Mercedes Swan
By the end of this blog, you’ll have three easy ways to do research for a professional network event so that you can go into the event with a plan!
#1 – Research the Company
In order to efficiently network you’ll want to do some research on the attending companies.
For instance, you’ll want to find out:
- What is the company’s primary business?
- What is the company’s employment brand like?
- Does the company have business functions that match me?
- What are the core values or mission of the company?
- What are the qualities this company looks for in applicants?
- Is the company hiring?
These six questions can easily help you narrow down which companies you as a candidate would be interested in. Your goal at any networking event is quality over quantity. So you’ll want to make sure you connect with companies that align with your professional goals and are a good fit. Otherwise, your time will be wasted networking with dead ends instead of real opportunities
#2 – Research the Positions
Next, you’ll want to identify any positions, roles or business functions that you’re interested in at each of these positions.
You can do this in a few ways:
- Locate positions on job boards
- Search for professionals who currently work at the company on LinkedIn
- Peruse the company’s career pages
By the time you’ve looked up these positions, you’ll have a pretty good idea about which positions you want to pursue. Pick one or two positions and thoroughly research these positions.
When you research these positions in detail then you can have a high-level conversation about the position and how you’re a good fit for it. You get to bypass the part where the recruiter or hiring manager wastes precious time describing the position. Lastly, you’ll give the impression that you are a highly invested candidate!
#3 – Research the Connection
I have to admit that this is one of the harder steps if the names of the attendees are not released. If this is the case, you will have to make an educated guess based on the available information often found on LinkedIn and the company’s website.
For example, if you were going to a recruitment event and targeting my company, you might log into LinkedIn to identify the lead recruiters and hiring managers.
After you have identified your target connections you’ll want to find out more about their work history, interests and professional experiences.
Now here is the fun part!You’ll want to do two things with that information.
- Identify how you can relate to the target.
- Identify how you can appeal to the target.
Once you identify those two things you can leverage that information in conversation.
That’s It! By researching these three things before any professional networking event you can quickly identify opportunities that turn into a job offer!
My goal is that young professionals make connections with the right people to get to the next level in their careers.
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