During and after college, you will want to attend conferences in different industries. There is so much you can do at a conference, and many people tend to ignore the most important part: networking.
Here are 5 tips that will help you become a conference networking-maven!
1. Network before.
Research the speakers that will attend the conference and check out which ones interest you the most. Do a background search about their basic profession, publications, and other interests. If you can, e-mail them before the conference, introduce yourself and mention what interests you about their field. It will impress them and show that you are genuinely interested in their topic. This step is commonly forgotten, so doing this will definitely make you look great!
2. Come prepared.
As obvious as this may seem, it is vital to come as prepared as you can. It is not excessive to come equipped with a resume (or business card, if you have one). Look no further than the BU COM Career Center; they can proofread your resume before you hand it to a potential employer. They have open hours where you can bring your resume to be critiqued. It is also essential to research the speakers that will attend these conferences so you can attend the conference with insightful questions to ask. These questions will help you stand out from the crowd and it flatters the speakers to see someone interested in their company or area of expertise.
3. Don’t be shy.
Go up to the speaker after they present and hold a conversation with them. Ok, I get it. Easier said than done, but you have nothing to lose! A lot of people avoid the part of actually going up to the speaker after the event is finished and introducing themselves. It’s important that you put a face to your name if you are considering keeping in contact with the speaker. They came to the conference for a reason, they are eager to hand out their contact information and help! So, let them help you and get to know them. If you already reached out to them, remind them that you had already connected via e-mail. Make sure to state what you’re interested in – for example, if you’re into sports PR, mention it. You never know who they may have connections with. Your mission? A firm handshake, big smile, eye contact, and leaving the conversation with some sort of contact information.
4. Follow up.
After getting an e-mail address or contact information of some sort, follow up within 1-3 days of the event. This shows interest in the speaker and it makes you more noticeable. The e-mail should give them a little reminder as to who you are, your interests, and where you met. You can also attach your resume once more, so that they have a digital copy. Remember: this isn’t necessarily to get employed by this person, giving your resume helps spark conversation. Don’t forget to say thank you for speaking at the conference!
5. Keep in Touch.
Every time you do something that advances you in your career path (i.e: joining clubs, perking up your LinkedIn account, or getting hired) be sure to let your contact know. This way, they will think of you when something new comes up with them – whether it be a job opening, or a useful connection.
With these tips in mind, you’re on your way to becoming a networking pro.