Answered by Lina, Hiring Expert at ADP, on Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Hi there! Although networking can be intimidating at first, it gets easier the more you do it so my recommendation is to attend events and put yourself in situations where you can network with others as often as possible. Career Fairs and industry associations are definitely a good place to start but also take advantage of any other opportunities or events your school may offer where you are exposed to an employer or recruiter, even if you’re only talking to one company representative, you are still putting yourself out there and networking!!
Now when it comes to advice on how to stand out, I recommend preparing. Being prepared will help you feel more confident in these situations. Prepare and practice your elevator speech so you know how to start out a conversation and what key and relevant information you want to share. Next do research on the company you are speaking to, Career Fairs always share the list of companies attending so do your research prior to attending the event. Know which companies you want to talk to, and go to their company website to learn more about them, go a step further and look at their career site and look for roles that you may be interested in. That way by the time you get to the career fair, you already have an idea of what opportunities you’re interested in. Nothing impresses me more at a career fair than when a student who has done all of this. I know University Career Centers always advise students do these things but almost no one does, so this is an easy way to stand out.
Another way for you to build your network is through LinkedIn. If you haven’t created an account yet, make sure you do so! LinkedIn has a really Alumni Feature, where you can search your school’s alumni by company, role, location etc. This is a great way to connect with professionals in industries you’re interested in whom you already have a connection with!
Hope this helps!!