1. Know your pitch. Be ready to confidently explain why you’re there! If you’re exploring lots of choices and want to learn more about that specific one, certainly share that. However, also be ready with 2-3 reasons why the path you’re exploring at that particular event is interesting to you (and 2-3 specifics about what you offer).
2. Smile. Even if you need to force a smile, it will actually reduce your nervousness while helping you to connect with others. As cheesy as it sounds, it sometimes help to practice in a mirror.
3. Introduce others. One of the best ways to stand out is to be gracious toward others. Did you meet another incoming student as you walked through the door? Introduce them to a company representative that you’ve been talking with to engage them in the conversation. You’ll convey confidence and stand out.
4. Prepare engaging questions. Because it is early in the process, there are going to be a lot of “typical” questions (e.g. What is your day like? What do you like about [industry]? What was your path after business school)? If you are ready with some specific questions that engage your audience, you are more likely to stand out. Check back in on your ProValues for ideas on what aspects of the job interest you most (work/life balance, autonomy, culture around providing feedback).
5. Follow-up with a short thank you note. After you have connected with someone at a networking event, we suggest reaching out with a short thank you email. The best emails highlight something that your contact shared that made an impact or gave you new insight into the company. A little tired with everything going on? Take a short break during the networking event and jot notes on the back of their business card to remind yourself what you discussed.