How to Make the Most of a Networking Event, with Angela Copeland

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard your host, and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-host, Ben Forstag, our managing director, and Jenna Forstrom, our community manager. This week we are talking about how to make the most of the networking events. Our show is brought to you by Hack the Hidden Job Market, the new online course from Mac’s list that starts November 1.

  As many as eight out of 10 job openings never get advertised, is your dream job one of them? Learn how to uncover hidden jobs, and get noticed by the hiring managers who fill them. Visit macslist.org/course. We talk a lot on this podcast about the importance of networking. The reason is simple. It’s one of the best ways to find the jobs that never get advertised. Through networking you can also learn what matters to hiring managers, and you can get great career advice. You can network in different ways, this could include networking events, informational interviews, or volunteering in your field.

  This week our guest expert is Angela Copeland. She’ll share with us how to make the most of your next networking event. She’ll tell us why you should fly solo with a professional mixer, when you should and should not hand out business cards, and how you can stay in touch with the people you meet once you return to your office. We are recording this show in August. Have you just returned from your summer vacation? You might be tempted to use a photo from your trip on your LinkedIn page. In a moment, Ben Forstag will tell us why that’s not a good idea, and he’ll also share a way to get a great headshot that will impress employers. This week our listener question comes from Pat Guiles. He wonders how do give noticed at his job. Jenna Forstrom has advice.

  As always, let’s check in with the Mac’s List team first. The three of us, Ben, Jenna, we all go to a lot of networking events, I’m curious, what’s the thing you always do at one of these events, or perhaps after you return to the office?

Ben Forstag:

Well I think this is going to be an answer that all 3 of us echo which is I go through the business cards that I’ve collected, or the notes I’ve taken, and then follow up with people on LinkedIn just to make sure that that one meeting I had carries over and I have some way of contacting the process on a regular basis, and staying in touch with them.

Mac Prichard:

I’m curious when you go through those cards, do you connect with everyone you got a card from, or do you think, “Well, I didn’t really have a meaningful conversation with them?”

Ben Forstag:

If I can’t remember the conversation I had with the person, or one meaningful aspect to come out of that conversation, I probably don’t do the LinkedIn connection. I mean with LinkedIn, it’s the quality of the contacts you have, not the quantity. I’m not a race to have 1000 contacts or anything. The key is did I have a conversation where there were some connection we had there, or there was some business thing that we could do in the future, and when I reach out to that person on LinkedIn I actually try to include that in my welcome message saying, “It was really great talking to you last night at the event. I really appreciated your thoughts on issue X, whatever issue X might be, and I’m hoping we can keep this conversation going.” That’s how I reach out to folks.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, how about you Jenna?

Jenna Forstrom:

I always send an email, and I don’t ever connect with anyone on LinkedIn, so now I feel like I should try that out. Yeah, I always just go through my business cards and either just send them a one line message that just says, “Hey, it was great meeting you at last night’s XYZ event, let me know if there’s any way Mac’s List can help you.” If it was a short conversation, and if it was a longer like, “Hey, thanks for hanging out with me at the hors d’oeuvre table, and talking about sports like can’t wait for next week’s Timbers match or whatever, and then whatever business related questions, or comments, or projects that I wanted to talk to them about in a follow-up way.

Mac Prichard:

I also connect with people on LinkedIn like Ben, and depending on the conversation, I might send a personal follow-up email. As you do Jenna. I do enter the information of the business card into my contact database, and I usually write a four or five word note there, along with the date, met at this Association meeting, or talked about this, just so I can remember and have something to jog my memory. I’m curious, what do you two do with business cards after you’ve either connected on LinkedIn, or sent that email?

Ben Forstag:

I have a drawer in my office that’s just full of uncategorized loose flowing business cards.

Mac Prichard:

What do you hope to do with those one day Ben?

Ben Forstag:

I have no idea. One day if we ever need to start a small fire in the office we’ll use it as kindling. But I hold on to them.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, how about you Jenna?

Jenna Forstrom:

I also have a drawer full of business cards, but when I was in college I saved them and put them in little sleeves, like in a folder.

Ben Forstag:

I remember those books, used to be able to buy the little portfolio books.

Jenna Forstrom:

Yeah, from college, that died very quickly after college.

Mac Prichard:

I had those in the 80s I think, yeah.

Jenna Forstrom:

Mac do you type in all the contacts, or do you have an app that you use that you can do like a screen grab, or?

Mac Prichard:

I should have a screen grab app, I’ve tried those in the past and they haven’t been successful, but I actually have somebody who helps me with the data entry, and then I throw the cart away once I’ve made the contact and entered the information into my database.

Ben Forstag:

You mean recycle, right?

Jenna Forstrom:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Yes we are-

Jenna Forstrom:

Notice how quick we were to jump on that.

Mac Prichard:

Right, we are in Oregon. Recycling is a good habit no matter what state you might live in. Okay, well thank you both, and let’s move onto you Ben, because every week you are out there exploring the Internet looking for resources our listeners can use. What have you found for us this week?

Ben Forstag:

This week I want to share a post from LinkedIn that was written by Melissa De Witte, she’s a digital communications manager at UC Santa Cruz, home of the fighting banana slugs for anyone out there who is interested in sports mascots.

Mac Prichard:

I’ve actually been to that campus, it’s a cool logo.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, so this post is called do-it-yourself head shots. You can even use your iPhone on title, but it tells you what the article is about. We’ve talked so many times what the importance of a LinkedIn profile and making sure it looks real professional, and that starts with your headshot.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, and why aren’t vacation shots a good idea Ben?

Ben Forstag:

Well, you’ve seen some of the vacation shots I share Mac on Facebook, you wouldn’t want pictures of me tossing my kid up in the air, catching him in the ocean, that’s not a very professional shot there. Yeah, so Melissa has this great post about if you can’t afford a professional headshot, those can cost two, 300 bucks sometimes, she has some tips on how you can take your own headshot using a friend to help you, or a colleague, and your iPhone.

  These are real kind of nuts and bolts practical suggestions for how to set your camera phone settings, how to take advantage of light, how to use natural light versus artificial light. For selecting the right kinds of backgrounds and wardrobes. For the right poses depending on what kind of presence you want to show in the photo, and tools for editing and touching up photos. It’s a real soup to nuts solution for creating a nice professional looking cover photo for your LinkedIn profile on the cheap. Again, this was a post on LinkedIn, it was called do-it-yourself head shots, and we’ll include a link in the shadows.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, great idea. Well thank you Ben, and if you have an idea for Ben, please write him, his email address is ben@macslist.org, and we may feature your suggestion on the show. Now let’s turn to you our listeners, Jenna Forstrom has been going through the mail bag, but this week I think she has an audio file for us, and also the answer to one of your questions. Jenna, what do you have for us this week?

Jenna Forstrom:

Today’s question comes from Pat Guiles, and we are going to take a listen to his voicemail right now.

Pat:

Hi, this is Pat Guiles, and I have a question that I wanted to ask you guys regarding interactions with a new employer. I recently started working for a company, and it was kind of on a contract basis, a part-time basis. Fortunately, I was able to find another full-time job, more reliable working hours and benefits. I wanted to know what I should do with regard to informing my new employer of this, the one that I have been working for on a part-time basis. I’ve tried writing an email to ask for just 10 minutes of sit down face-to-face time, but I’ve been told that employer is too busy to sit and meet with me personally. I’ve even offered to meet with him outside of the standard working hours, and have gotten no response in over a week. I’m wondering what I should do next. Thanks.

Jenna Forstrom:

Thank you so much Pat for calling in, first of all. Congrats on the new role. Mainly because it’s full-time with benefits, and sounds like everything you are looking for, but secondly it sounds like your current manager is kind of tough to work with. Hopefully this new role will be everything you thought it would be. I was noodling on what you could do, and I feel like you’ve done everything, you asked to schedule a meeting, you’ve offered other solutions when those times weren’t available, and I think at this point you just need to send a really nice two weeks notice email, and say like, “Thanks for the opportunity.”

  Explain your reasons for leaving, and then just maybe pick a highlight if you’ve been there for a couple months, like I really enjoyed working on project X, and learned this stuff, just don’t burn any bridges, just don’t burn any bridges and be really polite and send an email. Maybe CC the HR person if you have that contact too, so that everyone is in the loop because it sounds like your current manager is really busy, so maybe he will miss even this email. Mac and Ben, do you guys have any other tips?

Ben Forstag:

We’ve heard variations of this question a lot here at Mac’s List, and I understand where that comes from, but at the same time I think jobseekers forget that most employers know you are not going to be there for your entire life, and I think that’s especially true if we are talking about a contract job. I mean they explicitly hired you for a short-term defined project, and so they are not expecting you to hang around forever. It does sound like Pat is doing everything he could, and probably went above and beyond trying to get an in person meeting with his supervisor, if the supervisor is not located where he works. At this point I would agree with Jenna, you just write a nicely worded email, and that’s probably what the employer really needs for their HR purposes, just to keep track of that, make sure it was documented.

Mac Prichard:

I think you are both spot on, and it’s always important to give two weeks notice, and you may find that especially if you are a contractor, your employer doesn’t need you for an additional two weeks, but give them that option. Those are wise words to live by that you shared Jenna, don’t burn any bridges, whatever sector, or community, or end, you will likely cross paths with a former employer at some point in your career.

Ben Forstag:

The other thing I throw in sometimes is, if you have a good relationship with the employer, and you certainly want to maintain a good relationship, you can even inquire like, “Can I help you find the person to take over my roles and responsibilities?” In all likelihood the employer doesn’t want your input directly on that process, they might, and I think just offering up whatever services you can provide there whether it’s a referral, or anything else that’s just a nice gesture you can offer to the employer.

Jenna Forstrom:

Yeah that’s a good tip Ben, thanks guys.

Mac Prichard:

Well thank you Jenna, and thank you Pat for the question. If you have a question for us you can email Jenna, and her address is jenna@macslist.org. Even better, call our listener line and leave your question as a recording and we’ll play it on the show. That number is area code 716, JOB TALK, J-O-B, – T-A-L-K. these segments with Jenna and Ben are sponsored by Hack the Hidden Job Market, it’s our new online course for Mac’s List.

  As many as 80% of all jobs never get posted. Instead the employer’s fill these openings by word-of-mouth. Our new course shows to how this hidden job market works. We teach you how to find plum gigs that never appear on a job board, how to stand out in a crowd of applicants, and how to connect with insiders who can help your career. The course has 12 modules, and in each of them you’ll get the tools and tips you need to get the work you want. Meaningful work, work that makes a difference, work that you can love.

  Hack the Hidden Job Market launches on November 1. Don’t wait, get updates and lock in the early bird price now, go to macslist.org/course. Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Angela Copeland. Angela Copeland is the CEO of Copeland Coaching. Her firm helps people at all stages of the job search process. Including finding the right job, interviewing for a position, and negotiating an offer. Angela is the author of Breaking the Rules and Getting the Job. She also hosts the Copeland Coaching podcasts and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column on careers. She joins us today from Memphis Tennessee. Angela, thanks for coming on the show.

Angela Copeland:

Thank you for having me.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, it’s a pleasure to have you on the program. Now Angela, today we are talking about networking, particularly networking events. I think many people don’t start networking at all, or particularly going to an event until they are looking for a job. Why isn’t that a good idea, why should they not wait until their job hunting to start networking?

Angela Copeland:

You know, it’s such a great question. I talked to people often who are looking for a job, and they wait until they really need a job, or they are not interested to talk to someone that doesn’t have a job to offer them. Unfortunately, it’s too late as you mentioned, because the other person that you’re networking with doesn’t know enough about you to recommend you to anyone. It takes time to build that relationship, and for someone to get to know you, know what you are about, know what type of work that you do, it just takes time to build that relationship.

Mac Prichard:

Well, at its heart networking is about relationships, and there are different ways you can do it, volunteering is one way, informational interviews is another. This week we are talking about events, and let’s talk about networking events. What’s a good way to find events in your field?

Angela Copeland:

Right, you know, I really love networking events, and there are a few really good places. One place to think of is if you were ever a member of any kind of organization say in college or graduate school that targets a particular field that you’re in, say the American Marketing Association, The Society for Women Engineers, there are lots of these groups. They are a great place to start. If you don’t have a group like this, you might look at a website like meetup.com.

  There are many groups that are open to the public, or you can look on your local chamber website. There are many many young professional, or professional types of events that are out there, that are available. Whether or not you are a member, you can often go at a free or discounted rate if you are a visitor. I often tell people that for some organizations where the membership fee is say three or $400 a year, if you check sometimes one of their events might cost 15 or $20 to come as a guest. It’s a really great way to go, and to try out different groups to find something that is a good fit for what you are looking for.

Mac Prichard:

Once you find an event that you’re interested in, what kind of goals or expectations should you set, I often meet people who say, “Well, I went to this mixer, and I felt awkward. I’m not sure anything really happened. I’m not sure why I should go again.”

Angela Copeland:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), it’s a really good question because people often do feel awkward and uncomfortable and scared when they go to these events. One really good thing to remember is that everyone feels that way. I often will go to events by myself, because it forces me to talk to new people that I’ve never met.

  If I go with a friend sometimes I will just talk to my friend. When I go in I often will look for another person that looks like they may also be nervous to be there, and go and introduce myself. I will typically go in with a goal to exchange my business card with at least five people. If you can kind of set a mental goal for yourself, it makes it a little easier. If you remind yourself that it’s just practice, you don’t have to land a job today, this is just one piece of a bigger picture that you are putting together over time.

Mac Prichard:

You enter the room, you look for people you might chat with particularly someone standing by themselves, and you’ve got this idea that you want to exchange business cards with three or four, maybe five people. What are those conversations like, and how should people approach them?

Angela Copeland:

You know, I think it really varies. I really love to ask people more personal questions. Because I find that sometimes at the event you may be getting asked the exact same question, “What do you do, what college did you go to?” Things like that. I had an example, I went to a networking event a few years ago, and I met a woman there who was I think she was may be a manager or something here in Memphis, and I asked her, “What brought you to Memphis, how long have you lived in Memphis?” All of a sudden she started telling me this really amazing story that she moved here when her child had cancer, because Memphis is the home of St. Jude’s children’s research Hospital.

  Then she started telling me this entire story about how she became world ranked for a target shooting of like bow and arrows, and she picked that up while her child was going through cancer treatment. All of a sudden I had this new connection, and this woman that I knew on a much more personal level, and when I followed up with her afterward, not only was she interested to connect in a business perspective, she invited me to come out and try bow and arrow shooting with her. I think if you can try to think of something a little different, a little more personal than just business questions, it can really get you off on the right foot.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a memorable story, and I have to share I was cycling to work one morning about two weeks ago, and a fellow passed me on a bike, and he had a quiver full of arrows and a bow on his back as well. Which I thought, “Oh, that could only happen in Portland Oregon.” Sounds like it could happen in Memphis too.

Angela Copeland:

Apparently not.

Mac Prichard:

What I love about that story Angela is, I’m hearing you say you made a personal connection with someone. Also that connection was valuable to you professionally as well. Can you talk more about how these kinds of connections can be helpful either in immediate job search, or in managing your career?

Angela Copeland:

Long-term, it’s really about giving back, and investing in someone else, because at the end of the day oftentimes the person who lands the job is not necessarily the most qualified person, it’s often the person who knew the hiring manager, or it’s the person that the hiring manager liked the most. Really trading sort of that personal connection helps you long-term. I think in terms of a short-term benefit, one example I have that really helped me in my career, I was living in Los Angeles, I was in business school, and I flew back to Memphis to visit, and I went to a networking event, it was actually a neighborhood Association event, it was at a bar, and I went and the speaker was the CEO for a nonprofit that I was a big fan off.

Long-term, it’s really about giving back, and investing in someone else, because at the end of the day oftentimes the person who lands the job is not necessarily the most qualified person, it’s often the person who knew the hiring manager, or it’s the person that the hiring manager liked the most. Really trading sort of that personal connection helps you long-term. I think in terms of a short-term benefit, one example I have that really helped me in my career, I was living in Los Angeles, I was in business school, and I flew back to Memphis to visit, and I went to a networking event, it was actually a neighborhood Association event, it was at a bar, and I went and the speaker was the CEO for a nonprofit that I was a big fan off.

  I didn’t know exactly what they did, but I knew that they really were big fans of Memphis as a city, and it’s a Convention of Visitors Bureau here actually. I went up, and the CEO is quite well known in Memphis. I waited until he finished and I introduced myself and said, “I’m Angela Copeland, I’m a really big fan of the city, and I would love a chance to talk to you.” He said, “Wow, tell me about what you do.” When I told him, he said, “You will never believe this. I just created a job for this exact thing last week. I just got it approved this week. You are the perfect person for me to be speaking with today.” Of course that job was not available online. It was just a random occurrence that I went up and talked to this person, and sure enough, they hired me and actually paid to move me back to Tennessee. It was a networking event where I didn’t expect that kind of a result, but sure enough it happened right away.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a great story, and there are a lot of things I like about it, one of the main things is that there is a strategy to choose in the events that you want to go to, or talking to the people that you want to connect with. I mean you just don’t go to these events willy-nilly I’m guessing. Is that right?

Angela Copeland:

That’s right. I mean, you only have so much time, and so you really need to target events where you have a decent chance of meeting people who are either in your field, or hiring managers, or who are interested in something that you are interested in. People that you could really connect to. I think you need to be ready to act if something goes right.

  The one thing I did not mention about that story is that the CEO actually said to me, “Gosh, if only I could get a copy of your resume.” Me being me, I had a copy in my jacket. A full printed copy, and I pulled it out, presented it, which was part of the reason he hired me, but you need to really target these events, and of course maybe everyone isn’t going to be the right event, but go get a sense, sample some different events and tried to hone in on what might be the best fit for you.

Mac Prichard:

Other tips about people to approach, say you don’t see anyone standing by themselves, which is … I know people welcome conversations if they are alone at events like this. If you see a group of two, or three, or four, how do you decide whether to approach smaller groups Angela, and what kind of clues to look for, and what do you say when you do go up?

Angela Copeland:

Sure, one clue you can really look for is the body language. Say you have two people and they are talking, and they are fully engaged and they are facing one another 100%, maybe that’s not the group that you want to walk up to. But say the same two people are standing there and they are a little bit open in terms of the angle to one another, they’re kind of talking to each other, but they are looking into the room at the same time.

  Those two people may be more open to the idea of having someone come up and approach them. Often, I really like to just go up and say, “Hi, my name is Angela Copeland. I would love to just introduce myself.” Just start very simply. It’s good to have practice in elevator pitch, elevator pitches are very important in terms of explaining what you do when someone says tell me about yourself. In that moment when you are first meeting someone, it’s really about that first impression, much more than it is about sort of reciting a pitch that you’ve kind of memorized.

Mac Prichard:

What’s an effective way to make a positive first impression?

Angela Copeland:

I don’t think it’s as hard as it sounds when you think about it. Often times it’s in things like your body language, look at your posture, do you look confident, are your shoulders back, is there a smile on your face. Are you dressed appropriately? Right, so if you’re at a formal business event, are you in a suit in the way that would be the most appropriate, or if you are at something more casual, are you dressed in a way that makes sense for that particular event?

  Again, just having a smile on your face, making eye contact, I think a good handshake makes a big difference. Often when you are at a networking event and you are meeting a lot of people, you will find sometimes, say for example a man shakes a woman’s hand, and sometimes he will kind of give you this limp noodle sort of thing. It can be offensive as a woman. It’s really important also as you’re introducing yourself to shake every ones hand the same way, to shake it firmly, but not too firmly. Just to be pleasant and be authentic.

Mac Prichard:

Have a firm handshake, and an elevator pitch, and be warm and friendly and approachable. What about icebreakers? Get a conversation going?

Angela Copeland:

You know, some ice breakers I love to ask are sort of where are you from, where did you grow up, really simple things that can get someone talking. What brought you here today? Or how long have you been a member of this organization, how did you hear about this organization? Things that are going to just start a conversation. You kind of have to open the door a little bit, and oftentimes the other person will come along with you. It’s honestly not as intimidating I think as it often sounds. You have to remember, all the people who are at the event are most likely they are to meet other people as well. You are not the only one looking to make new contacts.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I think that’s important to remind people that the folks who do come to these events expect to have these kinds of conversations. At the start of our conversation, Angela you suggested people get a certain number of business cards. What’s the value of that, and when do you know it’s appropriate to offer your card to someone else?

Angela Copeland:

You know, I absolutely love having business cards even if you don’t have a job, I think it’s important to have a card that has your name, your phone number, and your email address. That can even be usable if you are switching fields altogether. My background originally is engineering, and I eventually transitioned into marketing. As I was looking for marketing jobs, the last thing I would want to do is hand out a business card that said I’m an engineer.

  I think one piece of value is giving the other person your contact information so that they can stay in touch with you. Then receiving their card back is extremely valuable. I would definitely suggest after the fact going home, emailing that person, sending them a connection request on LinkedIn, and just really starting to stay engaged. Now not every person will stay engaged with you, but say one of 10 does, you know that you are really starting to build successful connections.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s say you are looking for a job, what are the do’s and don’ts at a networking event about talking about a job search?

Angela Copeland:

Well, I think one important thing is not to really start off with that immediately. Because if you’re really going into any networking relationship, looking for something, from someone that doesn’t know you, it really creates a tough situation for that person. I would say start off, try to get to know the person a little bit, and then you may share with them the type of work that you do, and if they start to ask more questions you may share more information.

  At the end of the conversation, it’s often appropriate to say something like, “I really enjoyed meeting you today. Is there any possibility that I might be able to have a coffee with you next week, and I could ask you a few more questions about your company?” For example. I think oftentimes when it comes to networking in general, you want to try to take as much of a non-sort of pressure approach as you can, almost think of it as informational interviewing as much as looking for a job. It’s more about building relationships than asking for something from each person that you meet.

Mac Prichard:

When you walk out of that event at the end of an afternoon or evening, how do you know it’s been a success?

Angela Copeland:

It’s practice over time. I wouldn’t say there is going to be a success versus failure. If you walk out, you’ve learn something new, you’ve met a few new people, you have at least one person that you may be able to follow up with again, you’ve gotten those five business cards, I mean you can start to say to yourself, “You know, this is a success.” I think also if you are into measurement which I know I am, I will often send emails, or a LinkedIn request to those people, and then kind of measure how many people accepted, or how many of those people responded to the emails. If you keep track of that over time, you may see that it continues to grow and improve as you get better and better at networking.

Mac Prichard:

I like that, I think we share an analytical vent. Well, all great advice Angela. Now, tell us what’s coming up next for you.

Angela Copeland:

Well, it’s a great question, thank you for asking. As you mentioned, my book Breaking the Rules and Getting the Job, it is currently an e-book, but I’m working to actually put the paper back out on Amazon very soon, so that’s really exciting. There will be a link to it on my website.

Mac Prichard:

Well great, we’ll be sure to include that in the show notes, and people can learn more about you I know by visiting your website which is copelandcoaching.com. Your Twitter handle is @copelandcoach, and you have a podcast, Copeland Coaching which is available on iTunes and Stitcher, and we’ll include links to all of those resources in the show notes. Angela thank you for joining us this week.

Angela Copeland:

Thank you so much for having me.

Mac Prichard:

We are back in the Mac’s List studio with Jenna and Ben. What did you two think, what are some key takeaways for you on the conversation I had with Angela?

Ben Forstag:

Well, I loved her story about her having the resume already in her coat pocket. We always tell people-

Mac Prichard:

Can you tell she’s a career counselor?

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, definitely. We always tell people don’t ask for a job in these networking events. I guess the caveat there is like, unless someone is literally telling you, “I’m hiring right now. Do you know anyone who’s great for this position?” In that case you do want to have a copy of your resume sitting someplace. It’s the kind of thing you don’t want to have to use it, or I guess you do want to have to use it, but you are probably not going to. Just to have it on hand. The other thing that she said that captured my attention, because I never thought of it before was, using your local Chambers of commerce to find networking events which I’ve heard a lot of different suggestions of where you could find networking events, never that one. You learn something new everyday.

Mac Prichard:

That was a good one, and Meet Up is a great resource, you can find all sorts of interest groups, at different industries represented there.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah.

Jenna Forstrom:

I really liked her make personal connections story. About how she was at a networking event and met this lady who had a kid that had cancer, and that’s why she was in town, and then ended up being a world-class bow hunter, and I just think that’s a great way to make connections. Just be friendly, it’s like common sense, but I feel like a lot of people go to networking events and they’re just totally freaked out, or they just want to talk to like one person, and they just ignore everyone else because they are focused on CEO person A, or hiring manager person B, and it’s like well, there is other people in the room of like 30 people to talk to, and they might be friends with person A or B, but they also might have their own opportunities. You just have to be open when you show up at a networking event to talk to anyone.

Ben Forstag:

We know that most people find their jobs through networking, but you never know which networking contact is the person who is going to ping you into that great job, right?

Jenna Forstrom:

Right.

Ben Forstag:

You can’t spend all your time focused on I am going to talk to this one person over here, because you might be missing these 29 other people who have that secret job that they are just itching to find the right person for. I always encourage people just go out and you want to be strategic, but also sometimes you just want to go and meet people because you really never know who has got what other connection out there. You can be pleasantly surprised by the random person that you meet.

Jenna Forstrom:

Definitely.

Mac Prichard:

I loved her point about this being a long-term investment. You go to these events, and it’s success I think it does look like having if you meaningful conversations, and making a real authentic connection with another person. It’s not about getting a job offer over the canapés, or getting in front of some prestigious hiring manager, though those things might happen. They are not likely to. Instead, it’s again, so much of job searching is about connecting with others. Networking events can be the opportunity to do that.

Well thank you both, and thank you our listeners for joining us. If you like what you hear today, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter, and each issue we give you the key points of that week’s show. We also include links to all the resources mentioned, and you get a transcript of the full episode. If you subscribe to our newsletter now, we’ll send you our job secret checklist. You will find in one easy to use file all the steps you need to take to find a great job. Get your free newsletter and checklist today, go to macslist.org/podcast. Join us next Wednesday, our special guest will be Michelle Ward, she will explain why you should always treat your career as if you were an entrepreneur. Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

To make the most of networking events, you have to use them as opportunities to build and deepen professional relationships. You shouldn’t go to a mixer or open house to land a job; you should go to meet people and learn about your industry. Build a strong network and the job opportunities will come.

It’s normal to be nervous about attending professional networking events. Most people at these events feel the same way! This week’s guest, Angela Copeland, offers an array of strategies to help even the most shy people succeed at networking events.

Networking Event Do’s:

  • Do have a pitch about yourself in case someone asks.
  • Do make a positive first impression through body language, a smile and being properly dressed for the occasion.
  • Do make sure to be pleasant and authentic.
  • Do ask personal questions instead of business questions.
  • Do learn something new.
  • Do follow up with an email or LinkedIn connection with every person you meet.
  • Shake everyone’s hand firmly and be pleasant!

Networking Event Dont’s:

  • Don’t talk about your job search.
  • Don’t just talk with the person who attended with you.
  • Don’t forget networking and relationship building takes time.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make a connection at the event.

This Week’s Guest

Angela Copeland is the CEO of Copeland Coaching. Her firm helps people at all stages of the job search process, including finding the right job, interviewing for a position, and negotiating an offer.

Angela is the author of Breaking The Rules and Getting The Job. She also hosts the Copeland Coaching Podcast and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column on careers. Follow Angela on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Resources from this Episode