Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Work the room wisely at networking events

Networking events give job-seekers an opportunity to meet prospective employers and make an impression that could lead to employment. Recruiting expert Kevin Roach, a professor at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School, and Lisa Burton, a career coordinator at the Texas A&M Career Center, give seminars teaching college students how to "work a room," to present their best selves at networking events and land that job.

Do your homework

Networking events, such as career fairs, may have dozens of company recruiters in attendance. Roach and Burton say rather than trying to meet as many recruiters as possible, find out in advance which companies will be represented and pick the five that are most relevant to your career search. "Research those companies so that your comments and questions are informed," says Roach. "Then you can say, 'I see your company is expanding to a new area; what are your hopes for this expansion?' You have to be directional — don't walk into the room without a plan."

Find a connection

Keep in mind that networking events are social settings, not formal interviews. "It's not just about collecting business cards and handing out resumes, or impressing them with your high IQ," Burton insists. "It's about making conversation with people and finding connections so they remember you later. Find out what you have in common and feel free to chat about your lives and backgrounds."

Make it about them

Taking the focus of the conversation off of you and putting it on the recruiter can not only ease a job-seeker's nerves, it may fulfill a subconscious desire in the recruiter. "People like talking about themselves, so when you shift the focus onto them, they'll probably walk away saying 'hey, I really like that one,' not realizing it's because you allowed them to share their own stories," notes Roach. Ask them "what do you like most about working for this company?" or "your busy time of the year is coming up — how do find your work-life balance?"

Tell your stories

Networking events are about personal branding, says Roach, and one great way to brand yourself as a worthy hire is to tell stories. "Pick three good stories from your life and share what you learned from the experiences," he explains. "They can be work-related or something from your personal life. Each story should have three parts: set the stage, describe your role and give the outcome. A good story will illustrate multiple positive aspects of what is special about you."

"When a student is having trouble landing a job, it's rarely because of their GPA," adds Burton. "It comes down to their ability to make those connections with people, present themselves in the best possible light and show what makes them special."

Don't linger

There's no set amount of time for networking encounters, but you don't want to stay so long that the recruiter is itching to move on. "Networking is not the time to share your deepest thoughts," Roach advises. "Make the connection, be memorable and then wrap it up. 'It's been great to talk to you. I'm very interested in what your firm has to offer — do you happen to have a card? May I give you my resume?' Then a handshake and move on."

Take a break

A day of networking can be exhausting, so Burton suggests taking breaks in between talks with recruiters. "Step away and have a seat," she advises. "Recharge and go over your notes before you move on to the next one."

Write a thank-you note

That night, before you go to bed, write a thank-you note to each recruiter you met. "Hopefully, you've made a connection and can reference it in the note so the recruiter remembers who you are," says Roach. "Thank the recruiters for the opportunity to meet them, tell them you enjoyed learning about the company and that you look forward to learning even more. That's telling them you're interested and the ball is in their court."

Comments
Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

ST. PETERSBURG — The head of Duke Energy Florida is leaving his post to take a new role with the utility’s parent company June 1, the company announced on Wednesday. Harry Sideris, 47, was appointed this week to serve as vice president a...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Yelp search results reflected racist stereotype that Asian American restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflected racist stereotype that Asian American restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Published: 04/25/18
As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

WASHINGTON — With hundreds of thousands of emotional support animals taking to the skies on U.S. airlines, Congress may start pulling a tighter leash.Two new legislative options emerged this week to address a hairy issue for American Airlines, Southw...
Published: 04/25/18

Comcast challenges Murdoch with rival bid for U.K.-based Sky

LONDON — U.S. media giant Comcast on Wednesday offered $30.7 billion for Sky PLC, topping a bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and setting up a bidding war for Britain’s biggest satellite TV company.Comcast said it would pay approximately $17...
Published: 04/25/18
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Pasco County

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Pasco County

TRINITY — Pasco County will be getting its first Sprouts Farmers Market, the organic grocery chain announced Wednesday. The new store will open at the Village at Mitchell Ranch on State Road 54 and Little Road. Officials with the speciality st...
Published: 04/25/18
Circle K launching own gas at eight Hillsborough locations

Circle K launching own gas at eight Hillsborough locations

TAMPA — Circle K is converting the gas station portion of eight of its Hillsborough locations to Circle K fuel. Previously, the fuel was provided by other brands, such as Shell. The new Circle K branding also brings with it the Canadian-owned conveni...
Published: 04/25/18
Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida has the strongest residential building codes among 18 coastal states, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Florida’s rating is 95, almost three times higher than lowest-ranked Texas. Other states wit...
Published: 04/25/18
Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Times staffRedlining’ — banks’ refusal to make mortgage loans in certain areas — still has a huge effect on housing values even though the practice was banned 50 years ago. According to Zillow, a Tampa Bay house in a once-redlined area is worth less ...
Published: 04/25/18
Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

NOW OPEN: TEX-MEX CHAIN CHUY’SThe Austin, Texas-based Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opened its first Tampa restaurant on Tuesday, giving away free Chuy’s for two for a year to the first 50 customers. I know, we missed it, it’s a bummer, but we can still visit...
Published: 04/25/18
Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

CLEARWATER — Elected officials have talked about relocating City Hall from the downtown bluff for a good 30 years. Now there’s a jolt of urgency to actually do it.Voters backed a referendum in November that essentially greenlighted the $55 million re...
Published: 04/25/18