The annual Aviation Networking Night receptions have become signature events, allowing Pathways to Aviation to publicly demonstrate the need, value, and availability of quality young leaders, who are ready to represent the aerospace industry's next generation.
The Aviation Networking Night receptions are held for several reasons, especially...
- Introduce students to executives from the aerospace and other industries;
- Display the career planning best practices learned during the workshops;
- Showcase career-aspiring talent to professionals;
- Seek career opportunities such as job shadowing, internships, and part/full-time jobs.
The receptions present ideal opportunities for both students (job-seekers) and executives. Here are best practices for students to consider as they prepare for the networking night (and other networking) receptions.
Bring a resume
Be prepared to hand professionals your resume if and when asked. You won't do this for everyone, but bringing a set of resumes (we suggest 10) presents an instant opportunity for feedback and possible consideration for employment. Be sure to update the resume with your most recent experiences, key action words, and transferable skills. The best way to bring your resumes is in a clean folder.
Your attire will trigger a first impression in the professional and set the tone for conversation. Students who dress well give off a confident and interested demeanor, likely meeting the delight of the employer. You don't need to wear formal attire, but looking nice will separate you from the others.
Clean your online brand
Take a good look at the photos, status updates, and comments on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. The professionals you meet, particularly those who indicate interest in meeting in the future, might research your online profiles. Your online presences speaks volumes of your character, beliefs, interests, and social circles.
If you have access to a list of the professional attendees, try conducting a basic round of research on each person. Learning about the professionals, prior to the reception, allows you to better understand their purposes, goals, cultures, hiring practices, community involvement, and available positions. Your research should trigger questions to ask when meeting with employer representatives. Plus, when you reference that you've heard of them, it'll tap into their ego a little bit, which will certainly help the conversation.
Don't bypass connections
When you meet someone, whom represents a company or industry you're not interested in pursuing, do not bypass the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation. There's a very good chance the person has a strong relationship at the company or industry of your preference. Engaging in meaningful conversations can easily open the doors to greater insight, understanding, recommendations and, quite easily, references to other employers.
Smiles are contagious. Like your attire, a good looking and sincere smile sets an open and engaging tone to every interaction. Similarly, when you enjoy the overall experience, as well as each conversation, you increase the chances of something great happening.
Show professionals your ability to listen by asking questions. Also, if you've done homework, show them your interest by asking questions based on the research you conducted. The answers you receive will certainly paint a better picture in your mind about each professional.
Collect business cards
Be sure to grab business cards from each professional with whom you engage in meaningful conversations. Collecting their information will enable you to followup. It also indicates your networking comfort level, as well as your desire to build the relationship. If you're able, hand them your own contact card. Don't assume that they'll collect your information from the resume.
Soon after the reception, mail a hand-written note to the professionals you most enjoyed speaking...or send one to each of them. A simple note has tremendous impact. For one thing, it will be tough for the professional to forget you when it comes time to considering your employment. Your thoughtfulness demonstrates your true character, while indicating your sincere interest in the employer. Other followup opportunities include sending a nice email and, if you have an account, invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
And, as always, you can contact Pete for tips, resume reviews, and other advice. Good luck!