DECA members know the importance of networking. It can be exciting and nerve-racking, but networking is an exciting opportunity to showcase your talents to recruiters.
Most colleges and professional associations host career fairs or similar events for students to be in the spotlight and showcase their passion, knowledge and experience. Be sure to check if your school's career center offers resources to help you prepare for these events.
Here are four tips to help you get started.
1. Do your research
It is important to know who’s attending any networking events hosted on your campus. If you take the time to research the recruiters/companies in attendance, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to approach and position yourself within your initial interaction. This can set you apart from your peers and establish a great first impression—which gives you a huge advantage.
2. Arrive Prepared
Have your portfolio ready to go before attending a networking event and print out at least 5-10 resumes to physically hand out to recruiters. If you only have a digital portfolio, link it after your email within your resume or add a QR code. Pairing your portfolio and resume makes a strong first impression.
3. Dress to Impress
It is crucial that you dress appropriately for any networking event. Your wardrobe is an expression of your personality. In an environment like this, you need to dress in a way that showcases your confidence, creativity and ability to command attention. Don’t be afraid to own the room!
4. Get Social
If you’re serious and passionate about your major and career, you should pair your LinkedIn profile with a professional Instagram account. Focus your account around work that highlights your qualities and skill set. Examples can be projects you've contributed to, social media graphics you've created, stunning photography or images from events you’ve attended.
Good luck with your next networking opportunity!