Network and Work the Career Fair


Fri, Nov 28, 2014

Naturally, very few people enjoy stepping outside of their comfort zones, walking up to a random person, and trying to strike up a conversation, but why?  Fear of rejection?  Fear that you won’t have anything to say?  Fear that you’ll mix up your words, become all tongue tied, and that the entire room will laugh at you?  Before deciding to completely forgo working a room try to remember that everyone else assumes that they are more nervous that you are and are afraid to approach you as well!  

The first steps to working a room actually begin before you arrive.  When you dress more confidently you will feel more confident. The same applies to the attitude you take toward how you believe others will perceive you.  Think of all of the things that are impressive about you and do some internal bragging.  Remember that you are an interesting person and have a great deal of skills to offer potential employers.  Whenever you get nervous remember that the person you are speaking with is most likely nervous as well, and stop and think of a question to ask them about what they do, or what they are seeking in an employee. Keep in mind that people love to talk about themselves and their aspirations so any question that will allow them to do so will reap you serious positive benefits.

Create a thirty second elevator speech that begins with who you are, why you are qualified, and ends with a question about how they feel your skills can benefit their company.  Practice this until you have it memorized, and take time to say it in front of a mirror to ensure that you appear confident.  Check with a friend to see if you are speaking too slowly, or too quickly, and to determine that you are making sense.

Remember that at one point in your life every person you’ve ever known was once a stranger.  Your relatives, friends, spouse, and even former coworkers were once strangers, but you met them in the context that they should be interested in you because they share a connection with you on some level.  Rethink yourself as someone who is connected with everyone in a room in one way or another.  Everyone can find some common ground to agree on, as long as you are avoiding politics and religion.

Remember that it is okay if you do not come across as amazing to each and every person that you meet. Chances are that some people will not respond positively to your introduction but you can look at this positively in two ways. First, they may be responding negatively because they feel uncomfortable about being approached which immediately shows that they lack self-confidence, and since you had the confidence to approach them, you are already in the position of power.  The other thing to think about is that them not liking you means that you wouldn’t want to work with them in the first place. Do not consider a brush off as a form of rejection, but instead as an opportunity to go onto the next person and find the perfect fit. 

Regardless of how you approach working the room it is important to remember to act confident, be professional, and share a smile with everyone who looks your way. Remember that employers hire people that they want to see every day, and a smile, and friendly conversation can go a long way!