I remember not knowing what to expect as I walked into my first networking event, yet was extremely excited for the advice I would receive. I had the chance to talk with several professionals about their current careers and where I saw myself in five years. The event was an overall success but there were three main things I took away from the day:
1. Do not be afraid to say what you actually want to do with your life even if it’s a crazy answer! I am always hesitant telling people I want to work for a record company because I think they are going to laugh at me. But I can tell you that no one has ever laughed and I have actually received great advice on how to move forward. Networking events are all about meeting new people and sharing experiences so do not be scared to share what you want your future to look like!
2. Really listen to the critiques and recommendations you receive. Most professionals you talk with at networking events have more than likely been in your shoes once or twice. They will have the best advice about what to improve upon whether it is how your resume looks or your handshake. These events are meant to be learning experiences!
3. Actually do something with the business cards you obtained. Instead of leaving them in a pile on your desk, follow up with everyone you met. Sending out an email with a question or a thank you to a professional you met shows you care and are invested in your future. Everyone at networking events is more than happy to help otherwise they would not have attended the event in the first place! Do not fear taking the next step.