Crash Course on Networking

As Career Fairs approach and networking events kick off, I’d like to share with you some tips you can use when networking—whether you’re interviewing for the first time or you’re already experienced but still looking for ways to improve!

Networking can be very useful for students to gain unique insights and customized advice when conducted properly. There’s no one way to go about it—this is just a framework I like to use to help me stay on track.

Before Coming to Network:

  • Have your resume/CV ready.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Test your microphone and camera (Virtual Networking)
  • Research the company / positions

Start with Small Talk:

  • “How was your summer?” “How has recruiting season been?”
  • The point of this is to break the ice and should be brief.

Part 1: Self Introduction (Short)

  • Talk briefly about your story.
  • Why did you choose ChemE? (Or your major)
  • What made you come today?
  • Any mutual commonalities to establish a connection – “my uncle worked for ________ when he was in his 20s.”
  • Don’t go on a tangent, since this is supposed to be short. The person you’re networking with is not there to listen to your autobiography.

Part 2: Get to Know the Person You’re Networking with (Also Short)

  • “Why did you go in this industry?”
  • “Why this company?”
  • Any intern experience they’ve had in their college career
  • What did they like the most about their internship, company?
  • What was challenging?

Part 3: Seek Advice! (Most Important)

  • Don’t be shy! Use this opportunity to ask specifics.
  • Ask them to give specific advice on your resume (don’t just hand them the resume and expect them to give you detailed feedback).
  • “What qualifications and skills does ___company___ look for in a competitive applicant?”
  • “I’m a freshman/sophomore, how can I effectively build my resume so I can become competitive next year when I apply?”
  • Ask them about daily tasks and responsibilities of specific intern positions

And lastly, thank them for their time and keep in touch if you can!

Good luck! – Frank Wang

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