Be yourself. Don’t be the kind of person you think someone wants to meet — be yourself! Networking is all about building relationships, so you don’t want to start a partnership on false pretenses.
Go in with a goal. Whether the goal is to get an internship, land a job interview, or just get more comfortable talking to new people, you should always go into a networking event with a realistic goal.
Always carry a notepad. There’s no such thing as taking too many notes! If someone mentions their name, business, or title, don’t be afraid to jot it down. Most employers will be impressed by your attention to detail and genuine interest.
Think of a few great questions beforehand. If you’re nervous about talking to others, there’s nothing wrong with coming up with a few general questions you can ask anyone. Asking, “How did you get your start in the industry?” and “What do you like most about your career?” is a great way to start a conversation and learn more about someone.
Talk to everyone. Not everyone you meet is going to be in your field or able to directly help you. But, that doesn’t mean you should avoid talking to them! While they may not be able to help you, they may know someone who can.
Sell yourself, without selling yourself. Networking isn’t the same as going on a job interview. While you always want to pose yourself in the best light possible, you don’t want to come off like you’re repeating a list of your best traits, or spamming people with your business card.