As career consultants in an IT recruitment agency in Nantes and Paris, we often attend networking events. In order to meet candidates, partners or clients, we also attend IT job forums, HR afterwork events and other collaborative networking events.
With this quick guide on networking, we hope to share a little of our knowledge.
A few tips for networking successfully:
Always be ready to introduce yourself in just a few words:
Your name, your company name, your main activities and something that makes you stand out. For example:
« Nice to meet you. I am Yann Boursier, head of SolidSkills France. My job is to make the recruitment process a simple and enjoyable experience, for both client companies working in the digital industry and the people we assist in their search for the next step in their career path.”
Also prepare a slightly more detailed presentation, no more than 45 seconds long, in the vein of an “elevator pitch”. This will help you go into further detail in a concise, organised, efficient yet complete manner. It will also allow you to be sure of yourself without monopolising the conversation.
Approach others by interesting yourself in them and how you could help them:
Approach others by sincerely getting interested in what they do. Ask them where they are at in their projects, and what they need to further develop them.
Ask yourself what you could do for them and offer, when you are able to, to help them out or put them in contact with someone who can. Anyone who has received help is psychologically more ready to give in return.
Talking about the other person before talking about yourself has several advantages:
First of all, we all enjoy talking about ourselves and someone who is sincerely interested in others will always be welcomed.
In addition, understanding your interlocutor’s problems or key interests before introducing yourself will allow you to orientate your pitch towards the parts most interesting to them.
If you’re sincerely interested in talking about others, your interlocutor will generally end up asking you about yourself. So be patient, this will stop you from being seen as being too business-oriented.
Be patient and look long-term:
When you have just launched a company in the digital industry, or started building up an IT freelancing business and you are looking to increase your number of clients, you are often looking for a rapid return on investment. Although finding new clients at an event is often possible, networking will pay off over time, in the long run.
It’s by attending several events and seeing the same people at each of them that you end up being known, being seen as trustworthy and will be approached with client needs.
Ideally, you would build up your professional networking before having need of it.