Loyola University Maryland

The Career Center

Preparing for a Networking Event

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In order to get the most out of a networking event, you need to engage in some planning and preparation, just like you would for an upcoming game or final examination. 

Establish a Goal(s)

Start by asking yourself "What is/are my goal(s) in attending this event?" Is/are your goal(s) to:

  • Obtain 10 new LinkedIn connections? 
  • Learn more about an industry or company?
  • Discover new internship or employment opportunities?
  • Increase knowledge in your field regarding new products, services, resources, techniques, etc.?
  • Establish a new professional relationship with an expert or alumnus in the field?
  • Engage new connections with a particular company or industry, or within a certain geographical location?
  • [Insert your goal here]

Research the Market

  • Determine who is attending. Is there a list of attendees?
  • Learn about the employers/individuals attending (e.g., what they do, competitors, opportunities, etc.).
  • Create a list of employers/individuals with whom you want to speak. This could be based on industry, field of interest, location, company, etc.
  • Prepare questions to ask your list of employers/individuals. For example, consider questions that explore the following topics:
    • What the company is looking for in an employee. (What does a successful employee look like?)
    • Information and knowledge about the hiring process. (What does the hiring process consist of?)
    • Information and knowledge about an employer that helps you evaluate your interest in them. (In what ways is a career with your company better than one with your competitors?)
    • Individuals/recruiters' experiences with a company. (What do you like best about your job/company? Why did you join this company?)
    • Refer to the "Questions to ask employers" section of the Interviewing for Success, Part I guide for sample questions. 

Market Yourself

  • Prepare your elevator pitch to use as a conversation starter.
  • Update and polish your resume. Have it critiqued by a career advisor.

Make a Good First Impression

  • Dress professionally.  
    • Wear something professional that makes you look polished and feel confident. 
    • How do you define professional attire? Review the five levels of business attire. For most networking events (e.g., career fairs,employer presentations, informational interviews), we suggest following levels 1-3. View the infographic what to wear or not wear for more guidance. 
  • Bring a portfolio with lots of copies of your resume, your list of target employers/individuals, and the questions you have prepared.

During the Event: Execution

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