Have your networking tools ready

The purpose of networking goes beyond gathering information and gaining insights. Eventually, you hope to enter the interview process. Often, there is a phase in between, a so called “soft-selling” space. It is a good idea to come prepared.

Practice your elevator pitch: an elevator pitch is essentially a brief (30 – 120 seconds) spiel on who/what you are and what value you can offer to a potential employer. Networking is about building your knowledge base and connections. It is typically about asking a lot of questions. But the next step of networking leads to an interview, and you want to be prepared for this.  Which in turns translates into effectively communicating what resources and assets you can offer a potential employer.

Keep your resume in your back pocket: remember, this is not an interview (yet). Sometimes informational interviews can turn into screening interviews. You can always, should you sense that the conversation is taking this turn, ask your counter part if they would like to have your resume as a point of reference. If your contact is via email, you can offer to send your resume in the context of providing your networking partner with more information about you. Key is to ask and not to put out unsolicited information. Oh, and don’t forget to pdf you document if you send your resume out.

Bring your business card: no strings attached, you can, similar to the resume, use this as a medium to offer something of substance to hold on to and to remember you by until the next contact.