6 Dos & Don'ts of Networking
1. Do keep one hand free so you can shake hands. Don’t bring TOO much stuff with you. A simple binder will usually suffice.
2. Do show respect by arriving early, being totally prepared, being respectful and using the appropriate greetings (Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, Father, etc. – as needed).
3. Do bring copies of your resume, your references (if asked for), any pertinent work items (folder of accomplishments, jobs performed or completed, letters of recommendation, etc).
4. Don't tell them your life story; you are dealing with busy people, so get right to the meat of the question and stay on point. Try to get more personal at your second meeting.
5. Don't be shy or afraid to ask for what you need. It helps them read you and see how you will FIT into their company / industry / or with their contacts.
6. Don't pass up opportunities to press for networking contacts, but wait until the end of the session.
9 Questions to Ask During Networking Meetings with Employed People
Networking is a major part of the current job search and as such, is best done with those who are employed either in your currnet field or one you would like to move into. By networking with employed people, you open the door to companies where you might be able to get a foot in the door as opposed to trying to break it down.
The nine questions below are just a scratch of the surface. You will undoubtedly find ones more suited to your situation and character, however, these will give you a good jumping off point.
1. What do you like most (least) about your work?
2. Can you describe a typical workday or week?
3. What type of education and experience do you need to remain successful in this field? Follow-up question – Do you feel that continuing education is needed to be a success in this job?
4. What are the future career opportunities in this field or do you see growth continuing in this field/job/company?
5. What are the challenges in balancing work and personal life?
6. Why do people enter/leave this field or company?
7. Which companies have the best track record for promoting specialties or specialists?
8. What advice would you give to someone trying to break into this field?
9. Are there any other people you can recommend I speak? When I call, may I use your name?
This should give you a good start and get your next Networking Meeting / Informational Interview / or whatever you choose to call it, up and running.