/ Asked by Kassi
I'm a business college student and the advice everyone gives is network, network, network; however, as a college student this can be very hard or intimidating because lots of the time these networking opportunities are at career fairs or industry association meetings. What are some tips to help stand out and what are some of the qualities or skills employers are mainly looking for in a candidate?
Answered by Hallice, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, on Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Let's talk about networking first. Do you have a LinkedIn page? That is the best way to get start networking. Start with your contacts, then your contact's connections. If you met someone at a job fair or industry event find them on LinkedIn and send them a message. It doesn't have to be long just something that shows you enjoyed meeting the person and remembered what they said. This is the best way to start networking at school. I would also recommend joining groups that pertain to your interests and your desired work when you graduate. This would be another great way to develop your network.  
I would say employers in general are looking for talent that fits their company culture. A successful candidate knows what they are looking for, if they fit the job description and knows about the company. Take your time, do your research and be prepared! 
Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on Monday, December 3, 2018
This is a great question. I have a couple of ideas on making a good impression at a career fair or association meeting. Research the companies that will be in attendance (choose 3 or 4 to really focus in on). Check out what cool things are happening either with their company or in their market. Bring these things up in your conversation, ask questions around them; this shows that you've gone the extra mile and that you are someone who is interested in their line of work. Ask them if it's OK for you to connect with them via LinkedIn and when you do, be sure to send them a quick note. Feel free to follow up with them and see if there are any career opportunities that you'd be a fit for. Thanks!
Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Passion and confidence are key. It's important to be confident, but not too confident when networking with potential employers. This can help demonstrate your leadership qualities. You should also demonstrate your passion for the industry or the company. You would be surprised how many students approach an employer with no knowledge, or having done no research on the company ahead of time. It's important to be mindful of time when networking. You don't want to spend the few minutes you may have trying to understand what the company does or what opportunities they have. Research this ahead of time so you have a clear understanding of what you want and how your goals may align with the company. This shows your drive and desire to be a part of the company. Use your time networking to demonstrate what you can bring to the company and ask thoughtful questions to understand more about the company culture, career progression or to learn more about the individual you are speaking with. If possible, a follow-up thank you note/email after your conversation is always appreciated as well.
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!!
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