Treat networking like a job


For several years I held a sponsorship sales role in a major performing arts company. We invited prospective sponsors to events to help them feel engaged by our product. And to ensure our aims were achieved, we spoke to every guest by the end of each performance’s interval.

When I started in this role…I hated interval.  Why would they want to talk to me?! The truth is, it wasn’t about me or my self-confidence at all. It was all about my role in relation to our product. So I decided to approach this interval networking for what it was – a job.

And as I approached each guest, I asked myself one key question – how can I connect them with what they want from our company?

Some wanted to understand the art – I’d have a key fact about the evening’s performance ready. Some wanted to meet other guests – I’d introduce them and politely move on.

When it comes to attending networking events as a graduate, you can ask yourself exactly the same questions about potential employers – how can I connect them with what they want from an employee?

Some companies will be in the middle of huge industry change – they’ll want to know about how your unique combination of skills make you adaptive and responsive. Some companies will be well established – they’ll want to know how your unique set of experiences can deliver steady value.

So while Module 3 of The Successful Graduate Course helps you craft your own personal value proposition, beware that reciting an identical version of it to everyone won’t help you make genuine connections.

And remember, it’s not about you. It’s about you as an employee. So don’t take it too personally. Make your unique value known at an appropriate point in the conversation – then keep moving round that room.


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